Research Article| Volume 45, ISSUE 3, P276-281, September 2013

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Sitting-Time, Physical Activity, and Depressive Symptoms in Mid-Aged Women


      Associations of sitting-time and physical activity with depression are unclear.


      To examine concurrent and prospective associations between both sitting-time and physical activity with prevalent depressive symptoms in mid-aged Australian women.


      Data were from 8950 women, aged 50–55 years in 2001, who completed mail surveys in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression questionnaire. Associations between sitting-time (≤4 hours/day, >4–7 hours/day, >7 hours/day) and physical activity (none, some, meeting guidelines) with depressive symptoms (symptoms/no symptoms) were examined in 2011 in concurrent and lagged mixed-effect logistic modeling. Both main effects and interaction models were developed.


      In main effects modeling, women who sat >7 hours/day (OR=1.47, 95% CI=1.29, 1.67) and women who did no physical activity (OR=1.99, 95% CI=1.75, 2.27) were more likely to have depressive symptoms than women who sat ≤4 hours/day and who met physical activity guidelines, respectively. In interaction modeling, the likelihood of depressive symptoms in women who sat >7 hours/day and did no physical activity was triple that of women who sat ≤4 hours/day and met physical activity guidelines (OR 2.96, 95% CI=2.37, 3.69). In prospective main effects and interaction modeling, sitting-time was not associated with depressive symptoms, but women who did no physical activity were more likely than those who met physical activity guidelines to have future depressive symptoms (OR=1.26, 95% CI=1.08, 1.47).


      Increasing physical activity to a level commensurate with guidelines can alleviate current depression symptoms and prevent future symptoms in mid-aged women. Reducing sitting-time may ameliorate current symptoms.
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