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Physical activity linked to lower rates of depression in bariatric surgery patients
Date:2/14/2013

tely one-third of participants reported depressive symptoms, while two in five reported taking medication or receiving counseling for depression or anxiety. "Those who reported treatment were more likely to report impaired mental health functioning and depressive symptoms, highlighting the need for better treatment modalities," said Dr. King.

The association between physical activity and these outcomes was strongest when only moderate intensity physical activity was considered. However, the number of steps a person walked each day, no matter the pace, also was related.

"Another goal of this study was to determine physical activity thresholds that best differentiated mental health status," said Dr. King. "We were surprised that the thresholds were really low." Just one hour of moderate-intensity physical activity a weekor eight minutes a daywas associated with 92 percent lower odds of treatment for depression or anxiety among adults with severe obesity. Similarly, just 4,750 steps a dayless than half the 10,000 steps recommended for a healthy adultreduced odds of depression or anxiety treatment by 81 percent.

"It could be that, in this population, important mental health benefits can be gained by simply not being sedentary," said Dr. King.

Because this was an observational, cross-sectional studymeaning patients' regular physical activity behavior and depressive symptoms were measured at the same timeit could not prove that a patient's physical activity influenced mental health status.

"Results of the study are provocative, but we would need further research to verify that physical activity was responsible for lower levels of depressive symptoms in this patient population," said study co-author Melissa A. Kalarchian, Ph.D., associate professor at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. "Nonetheless, physical activity is a key component of behavioral weight management, and it is encouraging to consider that it m
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Contact: Cyndy McGrath
McGrathC3@upmc.edu
412-647-9975
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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