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Physical activity and depression in young adults


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McKercher, CM and Schmidt, MD and Sanderson, Kristy and Patton, GC and Dwyer, T and Venn, AJ (2009) Physical activity and depression in young adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36 (2). pp. 161-164. ISSN 074-3797

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Background: Epidemiologic research suggests that physical activity is associated with decreased prevalence of depression. However, the relationship between physical activity accumulated in various domains and depression remains unclear. Further, previous population-based studies have predominantly utilized self-reported measures of physical activity and depression symptom subscales. Associations between physical activity in various domains (leisure, work, active commuting, yard/household) and depression were examined using both subjective and objective measures of physical activity and a diagnostic measure of depression. Methods: Analyses (conducted in 2007) included data from 1995 young adults participating in a national study (2004–2006). Physical activity was measured by self-report (International Physical Activity Questionnaire) and objectively as pedometer steps/day. Depression (DSM-IV 12-month diagnosis of major depression or dysthymic disorder) was assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Results: For women, moderate levels of ambulatory activity (7500 steps/day) were associated with 50% lower prevalence of depression compared with being sedentary (5000 steps/day) (p trend0.005). Relatively low durations of leisure physical activity (1.25 hours/week) were associated with 45% lower prevalence compared with the sedentary group (0 hours/week) (p trend0.003). In contrast, high durations of work physical activity (10 hours/week) were associated with an approximate twofold higher prevalence of depression compared with being sedentary (0 hours/week) (p trend0.005). No significant associations were observed for steps/day in men or for other types of self-reported activity including total physical activity in both men and women. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the context in which physical activity is assessed and the measurement methods utilized are important considerations when investigating associations between physical activity and depression.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: CDAH
Journal or Publication Title: American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Page Range: pp. 161-164
ISSN: 074-3797
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.09.036
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2009 23:54
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:55
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