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Int J Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 1;47(5):1443-1453. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyy141.

Physical activity and generalized anxiety disorder: results from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).

Author information

1
Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
2
Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.
3
KU Leuven Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Leuven, Belgium.
4
KU Leuven, University Psychiatric Center KU Leuven, Leuven-Kortenberg, Belgium.
5
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
6
Physiotherapy Department, South Long and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
7
Health Service and Population Research Department, King's College London, London, UK.
8
Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.
9
Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.

Abstract

Background:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is prevalent and costly. Physical activity (PA) may protect against other mental health disorders, including depression, but its protective effect on GAD remains under-studied in the general population and unstudied among older adults. Therefore, the present study examines associations between meeting World Health Organization PA guidelines (i.e. ≥150 min of moderate PA, ≥75 min of vigorous PA or ≥600MET min of moderate and vigorous PA weekly) and the prevalence of probable GAD and incidence of GAD.

Methods:

Participants (n  =  3950; 56.2% female) aged ≥50 years completed the short-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire and the abbreviated Penn State Worry Questionnaire at baseline and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview - Short Form to clinically assess GAD 2 years later. Prospective analyses included participants without probable GAD at baseline (n  =  3236).

Results:

Prevalence and incidence of GAD were 18.1% (n  =  714) and 0.9% (n  =  29), respectively. More respondents with GAD were female (72.2% vs 52.7%), aged 50-59 years (51.7% vs 38.7%), had normal waist circumference (52.7% vs 47.8) and smoked (20.4% vs 13.3%; all P <0.05). Meeting PA guidelines was associated with 25% and 63% lower odds of prevalent [odds ratio (OR)  =  0.75, 95% confidence interval: 0.64 to 0.88] and incident (OR  =  0.37, 0.17 to 0.85) GAD, respectively, in crude models, and 17% and 57% lower odds of prevalent (OR  =  0.83, 0.70 to 0.98) and incident (OR  =  0.43, 0.19 to 0.99) GAD, respectively, following adjustment for age, sex, waist circumference, social class and smoking.

Conclusions:

In addition to established physical health benefits of PA, the present findings support the importance of increasing PA at the population-level for mental health.

PMID:
29982489
DOI:
10.1093/ije/dyy141
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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