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Low maximal oxygen uptake is associated with elevated depressive symptoms in middle-aged men

Publication Abstract

Tolmunen, T., J.A. Laukkanen, J. Hintikka, S. Kurl, H. Viinamaki, R. Salonen, J. Kauhanen, George A. Kaplan, and J.T. Salonen. 2006. "Low maximal oxygen uptake is associated with elevated depressive symptoms in middle-aged men." European Journal of Epidemiology, 21(9): 701-706.

A low level of physical activity has been associated with depression, and increased physical activity has been found to have a positive effect on mood. However, the association between maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and mood has been poorly studied. In this study VO2max (ml/kg per min) was measured in a sample of 1,519 men aged 46-61 years during a cycle ergometer test by using respiratory gas exchange. Men with a history of psychiatric disorder or serious physical illness were excluded. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the 18-item Human Population Laboratory Depression Scale (HPL). Those who scored 5 or more in the HPL were considered to have elevated depressive symptoms.

The participants were classified into quartiles according to the VO2max. Those in the lowest quartile had a more than 3-fold (OR: 3.42; 95% CI: 1.65-7.09; p < 0.001) higher risk of having elevated depressive symptoms compared with those in the highest quartile, even after adjusting for several confounders (OR: 3.38; 95% CI: 1.60-7.14; p < 0.001).

In conclusion, low VO2max is associated with having elevated depressive symptoms in middle-aged men.

DOI:10.1007/s10654-006-9038-5 (Full Text)

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