Leisure time physical activity and its relation to psychiatric comorbidities in depression. Findings from Finnish Depression and Metabolic Syndrome in Adults (FDMSA) study

J Affect Disord. 2019 Dec 1:259:150-153. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.08.039. Epub 2019 Aug 19.


Purpose: The study aim was to examine association between leisure time physical activity (LTPA) and psychiatric comorbidities among people with depression.

Methods: Total 447 patients aged 35 years and older suffering from depressive symptoms (DS) and who were confirmed depression positive participated this study. The study was conducted between 2008 and 2011 in municipalities within Central Finland Hospital District. DS were determined with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-21) with cutoff score ≥10 and psychiatric diagnoses were confirmed by Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.). LTPA, other diseases as well as use of antidepressant were captured by self-reported questionnaire. Participants also took part in physical examination. The associations between LTPA and psychiatric comorbidities were analyzed using generalized linear models.

Results: LTPA level was not related to number of psychiatric comorbidities (after adjustment for age, gender, BMI, BDI and use of antidepressant p = 0.24) among depressed patients. The higher levels of LTPA were linearly associated with lower cardiovascular diseases (p = 0.036) and obesity (p = 0.006) as well as fewer DS (p < 0.001) among depressed patients.

Limitations: Possibility of LTPA level overestimation and study results generalizability to younger persons.

Conclusions: According to this study, LTPA level is not associated with psychiatric comorbidities among depressed patients in Finnish adult population. However, our results showed that the higher the LTPA level was, the less the participants suffered from depressive symptoms. In addition, higher levels of physical activity were associated with fewer heart diseases and obesity outlining the importance of overall health-care and health promotion although other forms of treatment are also needed.

Keywords: Depression; Leisure time physical activity; Psychiatric comorbidities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires