Influence of a sedentary lifestyle on self-reported mental health status among community-dwelling older adults with depression: Implications for secondary prevention efforts

Dickerson, Justin B.; Smith, Matthew Lee; Ory, Marcia G.
January 2011
Ageing Research;2011, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p31
Academic Journal
The relationship between sedentary behavior and mental health is documented in the primary prevention literature in the context of mental illnesses such as depression. However, these relationships have not been studied to the same extent for secondary prevention efforts, especially among at risk communitydwelling older adults. The Brazos Valley Health Assessment was administered to nearly 4000 adults. Respondents self-reported disease status, lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity and nutrition habits, perceptions of physical and mental health, and socio-demographics. The selection criteria for inclusion in our study sample were being at least 55 years old and having been diagnosed with depression by a healthcare provider. This criterion resulted in a sample of 545. Negative binomial regression was used to examine the association between number of the past 30 days where mental health days were not good and sedentary behaviors such as time spent watching television and time spent using a computer. For each day per week respondents did not engage in at least 10 min of moderate physical activity (such as fast walking) relative to their peers, they were 5% less likely to report positive mental health (IRR=0.95, P=0.036). For each additional hour per day respondents spent watching television relative to their peers, they were 12% more likely to report poorer mental health (IRR=1.12, P=0.033). Secondary prevention efforts should recognize the influence of sedentary behaviors and emphasize similar interventions used for primary prevention of depression.


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