Physical activity and risk of vasomotor symptoms in women with and without a history of depression: Results from the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles

Rebecca C. Thurston, Hadine Joffe, Claudio N. Soares, Bernard L. Harlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether physical activity was associated with decreased risk of vasomotor symptoms in a prospective study of women transitioning through menopause. DESIGN: Hypotheses were evaluated in the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles, a longitudinal study of women with and without a history of major depression (N = 523). Ordinal logistic regression models were utilized to assess the odds of vasomotor symptoms (none, mild, moderate/severe; Greene Climacteric Scale) associated with physical activity (quartiles of metabolic equivalent-hours per week) at study enrollment and over a 3- to 5-year follow-up period. RESULTS: No significant associations between physical activity and vasomotor symptoms were observed for the sample as a whole. However, exploratory analyses stratified by depression history revealed that among the 157 women with a lifetime history of major depression, high (odds ratio [OR] = 0.28, 95% CI: 0.09-0.83) or moderately high (OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.11-0.99) physical activity proximal to the vasomotor assessment, as well as consistently high (OR = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.10-0.75) or increasing (OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.12-0.92) physical activity over the duration of the 3- to 5-year follow-up period was associated with decreased vasomotor symptoms relative to sedentary behavior. No significant associations were observed for women without a history of depression. CONCLUSIONS: Physical activity may be associated with decreased risk of vasomotor symptoms among women with a history of major depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalMenopause
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Hot flashes
  • Hot flushes
  • Menopause
  • Physical activity
  • Vasomotor symptoms

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