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Physical activity and depressive symptoms in older adults.



Depressive symptoms are prevalent in older adults, and physical activity (PA) may have beneficial effects on depression. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between physical activity and depressive symptoms, taking into account demographic factors, and the associations between selected demographic factors and physical activity levels in community-dwelling older adults (age ≥ 60 years).


Data were drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. Descriptive statistics and logistic models were used in data analysis.


Four percent of participants reported moderate depressive symptoms, and 24% of subjects exhibited sedentary PA. Factors associated with increased risk of moderate depression included age, sedentary PA, and chronic medical conditions (ps < 0.05). Sedentary PA was significantly associated with age, race, education, BMI, smoking status, alcohol use, and taking psychotropics (ps < 0.05).


PA is a protective factor for depression in older adults, and clinical implications to encourage PA are discussed.

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