Sport and Recreational Physical Activities Attenuate the Predictive Association of Multimorbidity With Increased Geriatric Depressive Symptoms: A 14-Year Follow-Up Study of Community-Dwelling Older Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Multimorbidity is associated with increased depression risks. Little research examines how physical exercise moderates this association. From an existing cohort of community-dwelling older adults in Hong Kong recruited in 2001–2003, the authors included participants who were successfully interviewed after 14 years (2015–2017). Geriatric depressive symptoms were used as the primary outcome and measured by the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale, while multimorbidity was operationalized using a list of 19 conditions. Subscores of the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly measuring light, moderate, and strenuous sport/recreational activities were included as moderators. In total, 1,056 participants were included, of whom 50.7% were multimorbid. Multimorbidity was associated with 12% more geriatric depressive symptoms, but strenuous physical activities were associated with a smaller risk elevation only among multimorbid patients (adjusted relative risk = 0.99, 95% confidence interval [0.98, 0.99]; p = .001). In conclusion, strenuous sport and recreational activities may attenuate the association between multimorbidity and geriatric depressive symptoms.

Liang and Lai are co-first authors with equal contributions.

Liang, Lai, and Yeoh are with The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong. Lai is also with the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, The University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong; and the Laboratory of Data Discovery for Health (D24H), Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, Hong Kong. Kwan is with the Department of Psychology and Assessment Research Centre, Centre for Psychosocial Health, The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, Hong Kong. Chan is with the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong.

Lai (fttlai@hku.hk) is corresponding author.

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