Physical activity status in adults with depression in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2006

Public Health Nurs. 2012 May-Jun;29(3):208-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2011.00986.x. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Objective: To examine physical activity levels among adults with depression.

Methods: Cross-sectional descriptive study with the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, 2005-2006.

Sample: Four thousand and fifty-eight men and women aged 20 years and older.

Measures: Self-reported Patient Health Questionnaire [PHQ-9] for depression, accelerometer for amounts of physical activity, demographic information, and self-reported health status were weighted to represent population estimates. Bivariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression were applied to data.

Results: Overall prevalence of depression was 13.9% and 5.6% in mild and moderate to severe levels, respectively. Adults in depression groups spent significantly less time in both light and moderate physical activity than nondepression groups. There were no differences in sedentary and vigorous physical activity among groups. After controlling for socio-demographic factors, those at greater risk for depression were middle-aged women with self-reported poor health status with less moderate physical activity.

Conclusions: Although depressed adults were less active than nondepressed adults, their physical activity levels were close to the recommended guidelines. Public education regarding efficacy of physical activity and encouragement of appropriate activity levels could contribute to prevention and treatment of depression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Risk
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult