Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Does Poor Cardiovascular Fitness in Adolescence Raise Depression Risk?

A lack of cardiovascular fitness in men at age 18 may predict increased risk for serious depression years later. So suggests a Swedish prospective population-based study headed by Maria Aberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg. The study cohort included over 1 million male military conscripts born betweeen 1950 and 1987 who had no history of mental illness and who were followed from three to 40 years. Data on cardiovascular fitness at conscription were linked with Sweden's national hospital registers to calculate future risk of depression.

The study's findings "strengthen the theory of a cardiovascular contribution to the etiology of depression," the researchers wrote in their research report, which appears in the British Journal of Psychiatry. "Intervention studies are [now] needed to determine whether physical exercise in young adulthood can prevent future onset of depression."

There has been considerable research in the last few years on the link between cardiovascular factors and depression. Read more about that topic in Psychiatric News here and here.

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