Lifelong trajectories of physical activity and inactivity and the association between physical activity, health and wellbeing

Responsible leaders
Raija Korpelainen, PhD, professor, Timo Jämsä, PhD, professor

Senior researchers
Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, MD, professor, Tuija Tammelin, PhD, Research Manager, Juha Auvinen, MD, PhD, Juha Oksa, MSc, PhD, docent, Heli Koivumaa-Honkanen, MD, PhD, professor, Karl-Heinz Herzig, MD, PhD, professor, Juhani Leppäluoto, MD, PhD, emeritusprofessor, Tiina Ikäheimo, PhD, adjunct professor, Jarmo Rusanen, PhD, professor, Marjo-Riitta Järvelin, MD, PhD, Jaro Karppinen, MD, professor, Antti Kiviniemi, MD, Maarit Kangas, PhD

Physical  inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.  Despite promising positive trends in leisure-time (discretionary) physical activity in some countries, incidental, transportation-related, and occupational physical activity prevalences are falling and time spent on sedentary activities is increasing. Sitting time is correlated with all cause mortality and the term “Sitting disease” has been launched. According to very recent findings, the detrimental effect of inactivity on health are not mediated through body composition. Thus, it is essential to reveal the frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity beneficial for health, and even more importantly, we need information about the lifelong trajectories of physically active and inactive behavior. To reveal unbiased data of physical behavior, objective measurement of activity is essential.

Most previous studies have used cross-sectional designs. These studies do not provide evidence of a causal relationship between factors and physical behavior. Longitudinal observational studies can identify factors that have strong causal associations with physical activity and inactivity. The Northern Finland Birth Cohort provides possibilities to triangulate multi-faceted individual data on the level of lifelong exposures and trajectories of objectively measured physical behavior.

The main purposes of this population based large birth cohort study is to identify the lifelong determinants for physical activity and sedentary behavior at midlife using objective measurement of daily physical activity and sedentary time.

Local collaborators
Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, Finland, Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, LIKES - Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland, Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu, Finland, Eudaimonia Institute, Institutions and practices of new literacies (INSPIRES), University of Oulu, Finland..

More information
Raija Korpelainen, University of Oulu, Institute of Health Sciences, P.o BOX 5000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, Phone +358 50 312 5746, raija.korpelainen at, raija.korpelainen at

Timo Jämsä, University of Oulu, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, P.o BOX 5000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, Phone +358 29 448 6001, timo.jamsa at


Last updated: 20.1.2017