Fitness in midlife associated with lower risk of depression, cardiovascular death

Bottom Line: A high level of fitness in midlife was associated with a lower risk of depression after age 65 and a lower risk of cardiovascular death, including after a diagnosis of depression.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Fitness, a risk factor that can be changed, has an association with chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease events and death. How fitness in mid-life is associated with later-life depression and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease after a depression diagnosis is not well understood.

Who and When: 17,989 generally healthy men and women (average age 50); they visited a clinic for a preventive medicine exam at midlife (data were collected from 1971 through 2009) and they were eligible for Medicare from 1999 to 2010

What (Study Interventions and Outcomes): Midlife fitness estimated from treadmill exercise test results (exposures); depression diagnoses from Medicare claims files and CVD mortality from National Death Index records (outcomes)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control for all the natural differences that could explain the study results.

Authors: Benjamin L. Willis, M.D., M.P.H., of the Cooper Institute, Dallas, Texas, and coauthors

Study Limitations: Diagnoses came from Medicare claims data; the severity of depression could not be determined; and authors cannot eliminate the possibility of depression and CVD leading to lower fitness levels

Study Conclusions: Health care professionals should consider fitness and physical activity as part of overall preventive care to promote healthy aging.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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