Mood Emot 2022 Jul; 20(2): 31-36
Differences in Physical Activity According to Age and Depression: Based on the 2014-2017 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Saeheon Jang , MD
Department of Psychiatry, Bong Seng Memorial Hospital, Busan, Korea
Correspondence to: Saeheon Jang, MD
Department of Psychiatry, Bong Seng Memorial Hospital, 401 Joongang-daero, Dong-gu, Busan 48775, Korea
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Received: June 2, 2022; Accepted: June 28, 2022; Published online: July 31, 2022.
© Korean Society for Affective Disorders. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Background: The effects of physical activity on health vary depending on the individual’s age and the intensity and quality of physical activity. Hence, this study examined how the quality and intensity of physical activity are correlated with depression according to age.
Methods: The current study used data from the 5th (2014-2015) to the 6th (2016-2017) Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A total of 27,119 individuals over the age of 12 were selected. Variables such as adherence to aerobic physical activity guidelines and number of daily hours spent sitting, working (vigorous or moderate), at leisure (vigorous or moderate), moving (vigorous or moderate), practicing strength training, and walking were compared between groups with or without depression for two consecutive weeks by considering three age groups (adolescents, adults, and older adults).
Results: Compliance with aerobic physical activity guidelines, vigorous work time in older adults and weekly walking in both adults and older adults were higher in the group without depression than in the group with depression. Meanwhile, the group with depression spent more time sitting than the adolescent group.
Conclusion: For adults aged 19 and older, meeting physical activity guidelines and walking regularly can help prevent mental illnesses such as depression. Adolescents can improve their mental health by reducing the amount of time they spend sitting. Further research is needed to confirm the relation between physical activity and depression prevention measures by utilizing advanced information communication technologies and physical activity measurement methods.
Keywords: Physical activity; Age; Depression

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