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Exercise reduces depressive symptoms in patients with a chronic illness

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Question: Does exercise reduce depressive symptoms in patients with a chronic illness?

Outcomes: Depressive symptoms.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: Physical Activity Guidelines for American Scientific Database, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science were searched up to 1 June 2011. Reference lists of retrieved articles were hand-searched for additional articles.

Study selection and analysis: Randomised control trials (RCTs) comparing exercise training versus a non-exercise comparison in sedentary adults with a chronic illness and assessing depression at baseline and during or after the intervention were included. Studies were excluded if they were in patients with a clinical diagnosis of depression; included exercise as a part of a multi-component intervention but did not include the additional components in the comparison group; had an active treatment comparison group; assessed education or promotion interventions aimed at increasing physical activity but failed to show increased physical activity; did not use a screening or clinical measure of depressive symptoms; or were not in English. Effect sizes were calculated for individual studies and random effects …

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  • Sources of funding Not reported.


  • Competing interests None.