Anxiety and depression are associated with unhealthy lifestyle in patients at risk of cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis. 2005 Feb;178(2):339-44. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2004.08.035.


Adherence to lifestyle recommendations for prevention of cardiovascular disease remains a critical issue. We examined the association of anxiety and depression with healthy behaviors in a large population of subjects at risk of cardiovascular disease. We studied 1612 consecutive subjects referred for evaluation of cardiovascular risk factors. Separated scores reflecting unhealthy behaviors (physical inactivity, smoking and poor diet) were combined to produce a global unhealthy lifestyle score. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD) was used to assess both anxiety and depression. Both anxiety and depression were significantly associated with physical inactivity in both sexes and with an unhealthy diet in men but not in women. Anxiety and depression were both significantly correlated to smoking habits in men whereas only depression was related to smoking in women. In both sexes, the global score reflecting unhealthy lifestyles was positively associated with the degree of anxiety and depression. In multivariate analysis, both anxiety and depression appeared as independent determinant of unhealthy lifestyle in both sexes, with a stronger influence for depression. Depression and to a lesser extent anxiety are associated with a cluster of unhealthy behaviors in subjects at risk of cardiovascular disease, suggesting the difficulty of modifying lifestyle in patients with anxious-depressive disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression*
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking