Developing evidence for the primary prevention of depressive disorders: the role of diet and physical activity [ 2007 - 2012 ]

Also known as: Diet and exercise for the primary prevention of depression

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: Prof Michael Berk (Principal investigator) ,  Dr Colin Bell Dr Eva Leslie Prof Felice Jacka Prof Julie Pasco

Brief description This study will examine the association between diet, physical activity and depression and bipolar disorders. It will examine whether an individual's regular diet and-or levels of physical activity are related to the development and-or course of these psychiatric illnesses. There is evidence to suggest that our changing diets may play an important role in the development of mood disorders such as depression. The typical western diet has become high in saturated fats and refined sugar, while the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has declined, and these large-scale dietary changes may be contributing to increasing rates of depression. Moreover, there is evidence of physical activity being protective against depression, while physical inactivity is a risk factor for depression. Our lifestyles are increasingly sedentary and this may also be a contributing factor to the development of mood disorders. This study will involve women enrolled in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS), which comprises a highly representative sample of randomly-selected women from the Barwon region. The study will prospectively examine the relationships between diet and exercise and the later development of depressive disorders. To date, there is little data focusing on the role of lifestyle factors in the development of depressive disorders. This study will contribute comprehensive information regarding modifiable lifestyle factors that play a role in the development of these disorders. This data can be incorporated with information regarding other modifiable risk factors, such as drug and alcohol misuse, to create a simple public health message on how to reduce one's risk of developing these disorders. A preventative approach to mental illness would be cost-effective and able to be implemented at a population level. It is likely to lead to better outcomes for those affected by depressive illnesses and reduce the public health burden of psychiatric illness in Australia.

Funding Amount $AUD 672,136.59

Funding Scheme Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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