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J Affect Disord. 2017 Oct 15;221:81-88. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.06.012. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Physical activity correlates among 24,230 people with depression across 46 low- and middle-income countries.

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KU Leuven Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Leuven, Belgium; University Psychiatric Centre KU Leuven, Kortenberg, Belgium. Electronic address:
Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, United Kingdom; Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London, United Kingdom.
Division of Psychology and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; NICM, School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Australia.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinksa Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Unilasalle, Canoas, Brazil; Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Black Dog Institute, Randwick, Australia; School of Psychiatry, UNSW, Sydney, Australia.
School of Psychiatry, UNSW, Sydney, Australia; Schizophrenia Research Unit, Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research, Liverpool, Australia.
Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda; Butabika National Referral and Mental Health Hospital, Kampala, Uganda.
Department of Clinical Medicine and Translational Psychiatry Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil.
Research and Development Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Universitat de Barcelona, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAM, Madrid, Spain.



There is a paucity of nationally representative data available on the correlates of physical activity (PA) among people with depression, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Thus, we investigated PA correlates among community-dwelling adults with depression in this setting.


World Health Survey data included 24,230 adults (43.1 ± 16.1 years; 36.1% male) with ICD-10 diagnoses of depression including brief depressive episode and subsyndromal depression aged ≥ 18 years from 46 LMICs. PA was assessed by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Participants were dichotomised into low and moderate-to-high physically active groups. Associations between PA and a range of sociodemographic, health behaviour and mental and physical health variables were examined using multivariable logistic regressions.


34.8% of participants with depression were physically inactive. In the multivariate analyses, inactivity was associated with male sex, older age, not being married/cohabiting, high socio-economic status, unemployment, living in an urban setting, less vegetable consumption, and poor sleep/ low energy. In addition, mobility difficulties and some somatic co-morbidity were associated with not complying with the 150min per week moderate-to-vigorous PA recommendations.


The current data provide guidance for future population level interventions across LMICs to help people with depression engage in regular PA.


Depression; Exercise; Physical activity

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