Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike S. Okosun

Second Advisor

Dr. Monica H. Swahn

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Background: Major depressive disorder or depression is a mental illness which affects people of a range of different ages. In terms of years lost due to disability, it is a leader. Physical activity is currently being used as a therapeutic treatment of depression that decreases levels of depression in individuals suffering from it. Physical activity can also be used as a form of prevention against depression. This study examines the association between vigorous physical activity and depression.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that utilized the secondary data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) is the software used in analyzing the descriptive data for the study. SAS was used for the logistic regression models. Univariate logistic regression was used to determine the association between physical activity and depression. A Multivariate analysis using SPSS determined the association between physical activity and depression adjusting for age, race, education, substance use, alcohol use, BMI and gender.

Results: The sample size for the cross-sectional study is 5553. The prevalence of depression in the different levels of physical activity are as follows: no physical activity (15.8%), insufficient physical activity (15.1%), moderate physical activity (12.8%), and vigorous physical activity (17.4%). The unadjusted odds ratio for the association between vigorous physical activity and depression is 1.15, and the adjusted odds ratio is 1.14. There is no significant association between vigorous physical activity and depression.

Conclusion: This study shows that there is no significant association between physical activity levels and depression. More research should be done to better understand the association between physical activity and depression.

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