Depression could affect activity levels in type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Depression could affect activity levels in type 2 diabetes, study suggests


Having symptoms of depression is associated with reduced physical activity in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study carried out by the University of Leicester.

Physical activity is one of the key lifestyle changes recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. Depression is a relatively common mental health condition in people with type 2 diabetes.

The research team were keen to investigate and analyse the effects of symptoms of depression on the amount of physical activity people with type 2 diabetes take.

The researchers reviewed data from two studies; the Walking Away from Type 2 Diabetes study and the Let’s Prevent Type 2 Diabetes study. The analysis included a total of over 1,100 participants.

The trials compared people who underwent specific interventions, to increase the number of steps per day they take, with people who did not undertake this intervention.

The researchers grouped the participants into whether they had symptoms of depression or not. 11% of the participants showed mild to severe depression at the start of the study period. Three years of data were included within the study.

The results showed that participants showing no symptoms of depression at the start of the study increased the number of steps per day they took by 592 steps when following the physical activity intervention.

People with symptoms of depression, at the start of the period, showed a lower level of increase in the number of steps taken. The researchers used a score system to grade the level of symptoms of depression and found that, for each one-point increase in level of depression at the start of the study, 88 fewer steps per day were taken as part of the intervention.

The research team also looked at how an increase in the depressive score over time affected the number of steps taken per day. The findings showed that each one-point increase in depression score, through the study period, was linked with 99 fewer steps taken per day.

The study findings suggest that interventions to reduce the burden of depression might help to increase the success of physical activity interventions. This would need to be confirmed with studies to specifically test such an intervention.

The study is published in the Diabetes Care journal.



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