Associations of objectively-assessed physical activity and sedentary time with depression: NHANES (2005-2006)

Prev Med. 2011 Oct;53(4-5):284-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.07.013. Epub 2011 Jul 23.


Background: Studies provide conflicting evidence for the protective effects of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity on depression. Recent evidence suggests that sedentary behaviors may also be associated with depression.

Purpose: To examine the associations of accelerometer-derived moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity and sedentary time with depression among a population-based sample.

Methods: Cross-sectional study using 2,862 adults from the 2005-2006 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. ActiGraph accelerometers were used to derive both moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity and sedentary time.

Results: Depression occurred in 6.8% of the sample. For moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity, compared with those in quartile 1 (least active), significantly lower odds of depression were observed for those participants in quartiles 2 (OR=0.55, 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.89), 3 (OR=0.49, 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.93), and 4 (most active) (OR=0.37, 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.70) (p for trend p<0.01). In overweight/obese participants only, those in quartile 4 (most sedentary) had significantly higher odds for depression than those in quartile 1 (least sedentary) [quartile 3 vs 1 (OR=1.94, 95% CI, 1.01 to 3.68) and 4 vs 1 (OR=3.09, 95% CI, 1.25 to 7.68)].

Conclusion: The current study identified lower odds of depression were associated with increasing moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity and decreasing sedentary time, at least within overweight/obese adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires