Depression treatment, increased physical activity in African-Americans may reduce heart disease

March 10, 2009

Identifying and treating depression, including increasing physical activity, may improve quality of life and reduce cardiovascular disease and death in African Americans, according to reports presented at the American Heart Association's 2009 Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism.

In one study, researchers in the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) found high depressive symptoms were prevalent and significantly associated with low physical activity in African Americans. JHS is a population-based, longitudinal study and the largest single-site, prospective, epidemiologic investigation of cardiovascular disease among African Americans ever undertaken.

High depressive symptoms were identified by a standard depression scale and/or characterized by taking antidepressants. Physical activity scores were in the lowest quartile of the JHS Physical Activity Cohort (JPAC) survey for total physical activity, representing the sum of four index scores: active living, work (for those who were employed or did volunteer work), sport and home life.

Of the 3,092 adults (average age 54; 65 percent women; 12 percent smokers), 17 percent had high depressive symptoms. The prevalence of high depressive symptoms was significantly higher among:Low physical activity was associated with high depressive symptoms in multivariable logistic regression analysis after controlling for age, sex, body mass index, education, income, and smoking.

"It is important to identify individuals with low levels of physical activity as well as those with depression," said Patricia Dubbert, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a psychologist with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. "Both indicate an individual is at greater risk for adverse health outcomes. We have effective interventions to employ when either or both are identified."

"Behavioral patterns in depressed patients are likely to further negatively impact their cardiovascular disease status," said Ermeg Akylbekova, M.S., a biostatistician for the Jackson Heart Study. "For example, depressed patients are less likely to exercise, tend to eat in a less healthy manner, and are more likely to use tobacco and alcohol. They are also less likely to take medications as prescribed or closely follow their treatment regimen, which may be a serious impediment to treating their cardiovascular condition.

"It is advisable for healthcare providers treating cardiovascular disease patients, whether cardiologists or primary care, to screen all their patients for depression. If concerns arise, a mental health professional should be consulted. Patients have to be monitored for both conditions."

A recent American Heart Association science advisory also recommends screening coronary heart disease patients for depression.
Other co-authors are: Thomas Payne, Ph.D.; Sharon Wyatt, Ph.D.; Thomas Mosley, Ph.D.; Mario Sims, Ph.D.; and Herman Taylor, M.D., M.P.H.

(Note: Actual presentation time is 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, March 10, 2009) NR09-1034 (NPAM 09/ Akylbekova & Dubbert)

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

American Heart Association

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to