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Studies suggest a role for cardiovascular fitness in the prevention of
To determine whether cardiovascular fitness at age 18 is associated with
future risk of serious affective illness.
Population-based Swedish cohort study of male conscripts
(n = 1 117 292) born in 1950–1987 with no history of
mental illness who were followed for 3–40 years. Data on cardiovascular
fitness at conscription were linked with national hospital registers to
calculate future risk of depression (requiring in-patient care) and
In fully adjusted models low cardiovascular fitness was associated with
increased risk for serious depression (hazard ratios (HR)=1.96, 95%, CI
1.71–2.23). No such association could be shown for bipolar disorder
(HR=1.11, 95% CI 0.84–1.47).
Lower cardiovascular fitness at age 18 was associated with increased risk
of serious depression in adulthood. These results strengthen the theory
of a cardiovascular contribution to the aetiology of depression.
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