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Previous studies of younger, healthy individuals have demonstrated an inverse relationship between physical activity and depression. The present study addressed the relation between self-reported physical activity and symptoms of depression in 146 men and women aged 50 years and older with major depressive disorder (MDD). Patients who met clinical criteria for MDD completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Minnesota Leisure-Time Activity Questionnaire (MQ). Multiple regression analysis indicated that lower levels of physical activity were associated with more severe depressive symptoms (p = .04), after adjusting for age and gender. The implications of these findings for the treatment and prevention of depression are discussed.

Kathleen A. Moore, Michael A. Babyak, Carrie E. Wood, Melissa A. Napolitano, Parinda Khatri, W. Edward Craighead, Steve Herman, Ranga Krishnan, and James A. Blumenthal are with the Duke University Medical Center, Box 3119, Durham, NC 27710.