Physical Activity Participation Decreases the Risk of Depression in Older Adults: The ATHLOS Population-Based Cohort Study.

TitlePhysical Activity Participation Decreases the Risk of Depression in Older Adults: The ATHLOS Population-Based Cohort Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsLima, RA, Condominas, E, Sanchez-Niubo, A, Olaya, B, Koyanagi, A, de Miquel, C, Haro, JMaria
JournalSports Medicine Open
ISSN Number2199-1170
KeywordsData harmonization, depression, Health metric, KLoSA, lifestyle behaviors, Physical activity, SHARE

BACKGROUND: To which extent physical activity is associated with depression independent of older adults' physical and cognitive functioning is largely unknown. This cohort study using harmonised data by the EU Ageing Trajectories of Health: Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies consortium, including over 20 countries, to evaluate the longitudinal association of physical activity (light-to-moderate or vigorous intensity) with depression in older adults (aged ≥ 50 years).

RESULTS: We evaluated 56,818 participants (light-to-moderate models; 52.7% females, age 50-102 years) and 62,656 participants (vigorous models; 52.7% females, age 50-105 years). Compared to never, light-to-moderate or vigorous physical activity was associated with a lower incidence rate ratio (IRR) of depression (light-to-moderate model: once/week: 0.632, 95% CI 0.602-0.663; twice or more/week: 0.488, 95% CI 0.468-0.510; vigorous model: once/week: 0.652, 95% CI 0.623-0.683; twice or more/week: 0.591, 95% CI 0.566-0.616). Physical activity remained associated with depression after adjustment for the healthy ageing scale, which is a scale that incorporated 41 items of physical and cognitive functioning (light-to-moderate model: once/week: 0.787, 95% CI 0.752-0.824; twice or more/week: 0.711, 95% CI 0.682-0.742; vigorous model: once/week: 0.828, 95% CI 0.792-0.866; twice or more/week: 0.820, 95% CI 0.786-0.856).

CONCLUSIONS: Physical activity, of any intensity and weekly frequency, was a strong protective factor against depression, independent of physical and mental functioning. Health policies could stimulate the incorporation of lower physical activity intensity to protect against depression, which might be more feasible at the population level.

Citation Key13677
PubMed ID38170286
PubMed Central IDPMC10764659
Grant List635316 / / Horizon 2020 Framework Programme /
2020 BP 00085 / / Agència de Gestió d'Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca /