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Prospective study of sedentary behavior, risk of depression, and cognitive impairment

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posted on 2015-11-02, 09:29 authored by Mark Hamer, Emmanuel Stamatakis
Introduction: Modern-day lifestyles are characterized by large amounts of prolonged sedentary activities, which may pose a risk to health in its own right, although little is known about their effects on mental health. We examined the association between several types of common sedentary behaviors (TV viewing, Internet use, reading) and different aspects of mental health. Methods: We conducted a 2-yr follow-up of 6359 (aged 64.9 T 9.1 yr) men and women from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a cohort of community-dwelling older adults. Self-reported TV viewing time, reading, and use of the Internet was assessed at baseline. Mental health was assessed using the eight-item Centre of Epidemiological Studies Depression scale to measure depressive symptoms and neuropsychological tests of memory and verbal fluency to assess cognitive function. Results: At baseline, TV viewing time (Q6 vs. G2 hIdj1) was associated with higher depressive symptoms (coefficient = 0.49, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.63 to 0.35) and poorer global cognitive function (coefficient = j1.16, 95% CI = j1.00 to j1.31). Conversely, participants using the Internet reported lower depressive symptoms (coefficient = j0.58, 95% CI = j0.50 to j0.66) and higher global cognitive function (coefficient = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.37 to 1.18). There was no association between any sedentary behaviors at baseline and change in mental health measures over follow-up, suggesting that the difference in scores persisted but did not increase over time. Conclusions: Some, but not all sedentary behaviors, are linked to adverse mental health. It is likely that these associations are being driven by the contrasting environmental and social contexts in which they occur.


Funding was provided by the National Institute on Aging in the United States (grants 2RO1AG7644-01A1 and 2RO1AG017644) and a consortium of UK government departments coordinated by the Office for National Statistics.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise


HAMER, M. and STAMATAKIS, E., 2014. Prospective study of sedentary behavior, risk of depression, and cognitive impairment. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(4),pp. 718–723.


© American College of Sports Medicine


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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