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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2017 Nov;49:26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2017.04.007.

Physical activity correlates in people with anxiety: Data from 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.
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 lack of nationally-representative data on the correlates of physical activity (PA) among people with anxiety symptoms. Thus, we investigated PA correlates among community-dwelling adults with anxiety symptoms in 46 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) using predominantly nationally-representative data.


Cross-sectional data from the World Health Survey were analysed. PA was assessed by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and participants were dichotomised into those that do (≥150min moderate-vigorous PA) and do not (<150min) meet recommended PA weekly targets. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the correlates.


The analysis included 24,850 people with anxiety symptoms (43.3±16.6years; 39.7% males). The prevalence of low PA was 33.1% (95%CI=31.6%-34.6%). Older age [e.g., OR=4.57 for age≥65 vs. 18-24years], not married/cohabiting (vs. married/cohabiting OR=1.36), being in the richest quintile (vs. poorest OR=1.41), unemployed (vs. employed OR=2.18), inadequate vegetable consumption (vs. adequate OR=1.66), and poor sleep/energy, worse cognition, pain/discomfort and mobility difficulties were all significant correlates of low PA.


PA is associated with a range of factors among people with anxiety symptoms. Future interventions might target the identified correlates in order to facilitate people with anxiety to be more physically active.


Anxiety; Mental health; Physical activity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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