Associations Between Physical Activity and Depressive Symptoms by Weight Status Among Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: Results From Diabetes MILES-Australia

J Phys Act Health. 2017 Mar;14(3):195-202. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2016-0196. Epub 2016 Dec 5.


Background: To examine associations between physical activity (PA) and depressive symptoms among adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (Type 2 DM), and whether associations varied according to weight status.

Methods: Diabetes MILES-Australia is a national survey of adults with diabetes, focused on behavioral and psychosocial issues. Data from 705 respondents with Type 2 DM were analyzed, including: demographic and clinical characteristics, PA (IPAQ-SF), depressive symptoms (PHQ-9), and BMI (self-reported height and weight). Data analysis was performed using ANCOVA.

Results: Respondents were aged 59 ± 8 years; 50% women. PA was negatively associated with depressive symptoms for the overall sample (ηp2= 0.04,P < .001) and all weight categories separately: healthy (ηp2 0.11 P = .041,), overweight (ηp2= 0.04, P = .025) and obese (ηp2 = 0.03, P = .007). For people who were healthy (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) or overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9), high amounts of PA were significantly associated with fewer depressive symptoms; for adults who were obese (BMI ≥ 30) however, both moderate and high amounts were associated with fewer depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: PA is associated with fewer depressive symptoms among adults with Type 2DM, however the amount of PA associated with fewer depressive symptoms varies according to weight status. Lower amounts of PA might be required for people who are obese to achieve meaningful reductions in depressive symptoms compared with those who are healthy weight or overweight. Further research is needed to establish the direction of the relationship between PA and depressive symptoms.

Keywords: behavioral management; exercise; obesity; psychosocial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Young Adult