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Exercise Reduces Risk for Depression in Obesity

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center report that it takes only a few minutes of exercise to prevent depression in severely obese patients who are about to undergo weight-loss surgery. In addition, physical activity significantly reduced their likelihood for using antidepressants or needing counseling for anxiety or depression.

About seven percent of the general population suffers from major depressive disorder and about ten percent has anxiety disorder. However, the rates are nearly doubled in adults who are severely obese. It should be noted that depression and anxiety must be treated before weight-loss surgery, since mental health issues could have negative long-term effects on surgically induced weight loss.

Study author Wendy King, an epidemiologist at the Center, and colleagues conducted the three-year research, which examined how much physical activity 850 adults did a week before they underwent weight-loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery).

Participants were asked to wear an electronic device, which tracked the amount of activity they did and to complete a questionnaire designed to evaluate their mental health. The survey included questions on symptoms of depression and any treatment they received for mental or emotional problems.

The results showed that about a third of the participants had symptoms of depression and that two out of five patients had taken medications or received counseling prescribed for depression or anxiety. However, they found that doing just eight minutes of daily physical activity or taking just 4,750 steps a day reduced the likelihood of depression or anxiety in severely obese adults by 80%. Current exercise recommendations include doing moderate physical activity at least 30 minutes a day or taking 10,000 steps daily for healthy adults. The results of the study was recently published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.


HealthDay News. Exercise May Stave Off Depression in Severely Obese.

Posted in: Emotional Health, Exercise, Mental Health, News Briefs, Obesity

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