BMC Public Health. 2022 Aug 25;22(1):1618. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14037-4.
BACKGROUND: Physical activity is associated with depression. However, benefits of physical activity on depression may differ for specific domains of physical activity (i.e., leisure-time, work, and travel). Moreover, the relationship between physical activity and depression could also differ for people in different Body Mass Index (BMI) categories. This study investigated the relationship between domain-specific physical activity and BMI with depression, and the moderation effects of BMI on the relationship between domain physical activity and depression.
METHODS: Complex survey data from the NHANES 2011-2014 was used (N=10,047). Depression was measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Participants reported physical activity minutes in each domain using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. Demographic characteristics were self-reported. Weight and height were objectively measured and used for calculating BMI. Survey procedures were used to account for complex survey design. As two survey cycles were used, sampling weights were re-calculated and used for analyses. Taylor series linearisation was chosen as a variance estimation method.
RESULTS: Participants who engaged in ≥150 minutes/week of total moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (adjusted B = 0.83, 95% CI [0.50, 1.16]) and leisure-time MVPA (adjusted B = 0.84, 95% CI [0.57, 1.11]) experienced lower levels of depression compared to those engaging in <150 MVPA minutes/week. Work and travel-related physical activity were not associated with depression. Overweight (adjusted B = -0.40, 95% CI [-0.76, -0.04]) and underweight/normal weight participants (adjusted B = -0.60, 95%CI [-0.96, -0.25]) experienced less depressive symptoms compared to obese participants. BMI did not moderate the relationship between domain-specific physical activity and depression.
CONCLUSIONS: Interventions that focus on leisure-time physical activity appear to be best suited to improve depression, however, this needs to be confirmed in purposefully designed intervention studies. Future studies may also examine ways to improve the effectiveness of work and travel physical activity for reducing depression.
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