I-Min Lee

Professor in the Department of Epidemiology

Department of Epidemiology

Brigham and Women’s Hospital
900 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617.278.0806

Other Affiliations

Primary Affiliation: Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


MBBS, 1984, National University of Singapore
MPH, 1987, Harvard School of Public Health
ScD, 1991, Harvard School of Public Health


Dr. Lee’s main research interest is in the role of physical activity in promoting health and preventing chronic disease. This extends to characteristics associated with a physically active way of life, such as the maintenance of ideal body weight. She also is concerned with issues relating to women’s health.

Her research projects include:

  • the Women’s Health Study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the balance of benefits and risks of low-dose aspirin and vitamin E in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer among 40,000 female health professionals, aged 45 years and older, that ended in 2004. Participants are currently followed on an observational basis to investigate predictors of health in older women.
  •  a study with objective measures of physical activity and sedentary behavior (using accelerometers) over 7 days among 18,000 women, from 2011-2015.  Participants are being followed for various health outcomes and mortality.
  • the College Alumni Health Study, a prospective cohort study of the predictors of chronic diseases, with emphasis on physical activity, among 70,000 alumni from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Web links






Lee I-M, Hsieh C-c, Paffenbarger RS Jr. Exercise intensity and longevity in men: The Harvard Alumni Health Study. JAMA, 1995;273:1179-1184.

Lee I-M, Paffenbarger RS Jr. Life is sweet: Candy consumption and longevity. Br Med J 1998;317:1683-1684.

Lee I-M, Cook NR, Manson JE, Buring JE, Hennekens CH. Beta carotene supplementation and incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease: The Women’s Health Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 1999;91:2102-2106.

Lee I-M, Sesso HD, Paffenbarger RS Jr. Physical activity and coronary heart disease risk in men: Does the duration of exercise episodes predict risk? Circulation 2000;102:981-986.

Lee I-M, Rexrode KM, Cook NR, Manson JE, Buring JE. Physical activity and coronary heart disease in women: Is “No pain, no gain” passe? JAMA 2001;285:1447-1454.

Lee I-M, Sesso HD, Oguma Y, Paffenbarger RS Jr. Relative intensity of physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease. Circulation 2003;107:1110-1116.

Lee I-M. Physical activity in women: how much is good enough? JAMA 2003;290:1377-1379.

Lee I-M, Sesso HD, Oguma Y, Paffenbarger RS Jr. The “weekend warrior” and risk of mortality. Am J Epidemiol 2004;160:636-641.

Lee I-M, Cook NR, Gaziano JM, Gordon D, Ridker PM, Manson JE, Hennekens CH, Buring JE. Vitamin E in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer: The Women’s Health Study: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005;294:56-65.

Mora S, Lee I-M, Buring JE, Ridker PM.  Association of physical activity and body mass index with novel and traditional cardiovascular biomarkers in women.  JAMA 2006;295:1412-1419.

Mora S, Cook NR, Buring JE, Ridker PM, Lee I-M.  Physical activity and reduced risk of cardiovascular events: Potential mediating mechanisms. Circulation 2007;116:2110-2118.

Logroscino G, Sesso HD, Paffenbarger RS Jr, Lee I-M.  Body mass index and risk of Parkinson’s disease: a prospective cohort study.  Am J Epidemiol 2007;166:1186-90.

Lee I-M (ed).  Epidemiologic methods in physical activity studies.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2009.

Lee I-M, Ewing R, Sesso HD.  The built environment and physical activity levels: the Harvard Alumni Health Study.  Am J Prev Med 2009;37:293-8.

Wolin KY, Yan Y, Colditz GA, Lee I-M.  Physical activity and colon cancer prevention: a meta-analysis.  Br J Cancer 2009;100:611-6.

Lee I-M, Djoussé L, Sesso HD, Wang L, Buring JE.  Physical activity and weight gain prevention.  JAMA 2010;303:1173-9.

Ahmad T, Chasman DI, Mora S, Paré G, Cook NR, Buring JE, Ridker PM, Lee I-M.  The fat-mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene, physical activity, and risk of incident cardiovascular events in white women.  Am Heart J 2010;160:1163-9.

Lee I-M, Titze S, Oja P.  Wife-carrying for health.  Med J Australia 2011;195:723-5.

Sattelmair JR, Pertman J, Ding EL, Kohl HW III, Haskell WL, Lee I-M.  Dose-response between physical activity and risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis.  Circulation 2011;124:789-95.

Lee I-M, Shiroma EJ, Lobelo F, Puska P, Blair SN, Katzmarzyk PT.  Effect of physical inactivity major non-communicable diseases worldwide: An analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy.  Lancet 2012;380:219-29.

Katzmarzyk PT, Lee I-M.  Sedentary behavior and life expectancy in the USA: A cause-deleted life table analysis.  BMJ Open 2012;2:e000828.

Moore SC, Patel AV, Matthews CE, Berrington de Gonzalez A, Park Y, Katki HA, Linet MS, Weiderpass E, Visvanathan K, Helzlsouer KJ, Thun M, Gapstur SM, Hartge P, Lee I-M.  Leisure time physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity and mortality: A large pooled cohort analysis.  PLOS Medicine 2012;9:e1001335.

Shiroma EJ, Sesso HD, Lee I-M.  Physical activity and weight gain prevention in older men.  Int J Obes 2012;36:1165-9.

Chomistek AK, Chasman DI, Cook NR, Rimm EB, Lee I-M.  Physical activity, genes for physical fitness, and risk of coronary heart disease.  Med Sci Sports Exerc 2013;45:691-7.

Shiroma EJ, Freedson PS, Trost SG, Lee I-M.  Patterns of accelerometer-assessed sedentary behavior in older women. JAMA 2013;310:2662-3.

Lee I-M, Wolin KY, Freeman SE, Sattelmair JR, Sesso HD.  Physical activity and survival after cancer diagnosis.  J Phys Act Health 2014;11:85-90.

Lee I-M, Shiroma EJ.  Using accelerometers to measure physical activity in large-scale epidemiologic studies:  Issues and challenges.  Br J Sports Med 2014;48:197-201.

Arem H, Moore SC, Patel A, Hartge H, Berrington de Gonzalez A, Visvanathan K, Campbell PT, Freedman M, Weiderpass E, Adami HO, Linet MS, Lee I-M, Matthews CE. Leisure time physical activity and mortality: a detailed pooled analysis of the dose-response relationship.  JAMA Int Med 2015;175:959-67.

Ekelund U, Steene-Johannessen J, Brown WJ, Fagerland MW, Owen N, Powell KE, Bauman A, Lee I-M. Does physical activity attenuate or even eliminate the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than one million men and women.  Lancet 2016;388:1302-10.

Gabriel KP, Sternfeld B, Shiroma EJ, Pérez A, Cheung J, Lee I-M. Bi-directional associations of accelerometer-determined sedentary behavior and physical activity with reported time-in-bed: Women’s Health Study.  Sleep Health 2017;3:49-55.

Lee I-M, Shiroma EJ, Evenson KR, Kamada M, LaCroix AZ, Buring JE. Accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behavior in relation to all-cause mortality: the Women’s Health Study.  Circulation 2018;137:203–5.