Physical activity linked to improved quality of life now is also linked to lower depressive symptoms
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health led this new research revealing adult bariatric surgery patients who are more physically active are less likely to have depressive symptoms.
Dr. Wendy King, PhD, research assistant professor, department of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health and lead researcher along with colleagues examined the associations between physical activity (PA) and mental health among adults undergoing bariatric surgery.
Adults with severe obesity are nearly twice as likely to have a major depressive disorder (13.3 percent) or anxiety disorder (19.6 percent) when compared to the general population (7.2 and 10.2 percent, respectively). Dr. King noted the importance of treating these conditions prior to surgery, as preoperative depression and anxiety increase the risk of these conditions occurring after surgery and has been shown to have a negative impact on long-term surgically induced weight loss.
As part of the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2, this cross-sectional analysis included pre-operative of 850 with class 2 obesity ho were seeking bariatric surgery between 2006 and 2009 from one of 10 different hospitals throughout the United States were included in the study.
Physical activity was measured with a step activity monitor; mean daily steps, active minutes, and high-cadence minutes (proxy for moderate–vigorous intensity PA) were determined. Mental health functioning, depressive symptoms and treatment for depression or anxiety were measured with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form, Beck Depression Inventory, and a study-specific questionnaire.
Among participants one-third had reported depressive symptoms and two in five had reported taking medication or receiving counseling for depression or anxiety.
According to Dr. King "Those who reported treatment were more likely to report impaired mental health functioning and depressive symptoms, highlighting the need for better treatment modalities.”
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. After researchers controlled for sociodemographics and physical health, only associations with treatment for depression and anxiety remained statistically significant according to the research results.
The researchers write in their conclusion Adults undergoing bariatric surgery who meet relatively low thresholds of PA (e.g., ≥8 high-cadenceminutes/day, representative of approximately 1h/week of moderate–vigorous intensity PA) are less likely to have recently received treatment for depression or anxiety compared to less active counterparts.
"We were surprised that the thresholds were really low. Just one hour of moderate-intensity physical activity a week or eight minutes a day was associated with 92 percent lower odds of treatment for depression or anxiety among adults with severe obesity. Similarly, just 4,750 steps a day less than half the 10,000 steps recommended for a healthy adult reduced odds of depression or anxiety treatment by 81 percent,” comments Dr. King. "It could be that, in this population, important mental health benefits can be gained by simply not being sedentary. “
Dr. Melissa A. Kalarchian, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, and co-author of study commented "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.” "Nonetheless, physical activity is a key component of behavioral weight management, and it is encouraging to consider that it may have a favorable impact on mental health as well."
This research was funded through a cooperative agreement by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
This study appears in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.
The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine study, published online by the journal Obesity, 2008, suggested that increased physical activity after bariatric surgery can yield better postoperative outcomes.
According to the study Obesity, previously inactive patients who became physically active after bariatric surgery lost more weight and achieved greater improvements in quality of life than those patients who remained inactive.
More information on bariatric surgery before and after can be found online at Wexner Medical Center online.