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Midlife Fitness Linked with Lower Depression Risk

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Jun 27; Willis, et al

Midlife fitness is associated with a lower risk of later-life depression, cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, and CVD mortality after incident later-life depression, according to a recent study. This retrospective cohort study at a single-center, community-based, preventive medicine clinic was performed as part of the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Participants (n=17,989, [80.2% men] with a mean [SD] age of 50.0 [8.7] years) included generally healthy individuals who presented for preventive medicine examinations at midlife and who were eligible for Medicare from 1999 to 2010. Researchers found:

  • After 117,218 person-years of Medicare follow-up, 2,701 depression diagnoses, 610 deaths due to CVD without prior depression, and 231 deaths due to CVD after depression were observed.
  • A high level of fitness in midlife was associated with a 16% lower risk of depression compared with a low level of fitness.
  • A high fitness level was also associated with a 61% lower risk of death due to CVD without depression compared with a low level of fitness.
  • After a diagnosis of depression, a high fitness level was associated with a 56% lower risk of death due to CVD compared with a low fitness level.

Citation:

Willis BL, Leonard D, Barlow CE, Martin SB, DeFina LF, Trivedi MH. Association of midlife cardiorespiratory fitness with incident depression and cardiovascular death after depression in later life. [Published online ahead of print June 27, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.1467.

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