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The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and the incidence of common mental health disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

A. Kandola, G. Ashdown-Franks, B. Stubbs, D. P.J. Osborn, J. F. Hayes

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-757
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date30 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Physical activity is associated with a lower incidence of common mental health disorder, but less is known about the impact of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). METHODS: In this review, we systematically evaluated the relationship between CRF and the incidence of common mental health disorders in prospective cohort studies. We systematically searched six major electronic databases from inception to 23rd of May 2019. We assessed study quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. RESULTS: We were able to pool the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of four studies including at least 27,733,154 person-years of data. We found that low CRF (HR = 1.47, [95% CI 1.23 - 1.76] p < 0.001 I2 = 85.1) and medium CRF (HR = 1.23, [95% CI 1.09 - 1.38] p < 0.001 I2 = 87.20) CRF are associated with a 47% and 23% greater risk of a common mental health disorders respectively, compared with high CRF. We found evidence to suggest a dose-response relationship between CRF and the risk of common mental health disorders. LIMITATIONS: We were only able to identify a small number of eligible studies from our search and heterogeneity was substantial in the subsequent meta-analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that there is a longitudinal association between CRF levels and the risk of a common mental health disorder. CRF levels could be useful for identifying and preventing common mental health disorders at a population-level.

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