Skip to main content

Independent and Combined Associations of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior with Depressive Symptoms Among Japanese Adults



Associations between levels of sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms independently and in combination with different levels of physical activity remain unclear.


This study aimed to examine independent and combined associations of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) with depressive symptoms among Japanese adults.


An Internet-based survey collected data on depression levels (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), self-reported time spent in PA and SB (Japanese short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire), and sociodemographic variables from 2,914 adults in 2009. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the odds ratios (ORs) for being depressed (depression scores ≥16) according to independent PA levels (none, insufficient, sufficient), SB levels (low, moderate, high), and nine combinations of PA and SB categories.


After adjusting for potential confounders, sufficient PA level was found to be related to lower risk of depressive symptoms independently (OR = 0.61), whereas no significant associations were observed between SB levels and depression. In the combined associations, adults in the sufficient PA/high SB (OR = 0.44), sufficient PA/moderate SB (OR = 0.56), and sufficient PA/low SB (OR = 0.57) categories were significantly less likely to have depressive symptoms in comparison with the no PA/high SB category.


Meeting physical activity recommendations is associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms, regardless of time spent in total sedentary behavior. These results suggest that promoting physical activity may be an effective strategy against depressive symptoms among Japanese adults.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Cassano P, Fava M. Depression and public health: an overview. J Psychosom Res. 2002;53:849–57.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Chapman DP, Perry GS, Strine TW. The vital link between chronic disease and depressive disorders. Prev Chronic Dis. 2005;2:A14.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Kawakami N. Epidemiology of depressive disorders in Japan and the world. Nihon Rinsho. 2007;65(9):1578–84 (in Japanese).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Dunn AL, Trivedi MH, O’Neal HA. Physical activity dose-response effects on outcomes of depression and anxiety. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33:S587–97.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Teychenne M, Ball K, Salmon J. Physical activity and likelihood of depression in adults: a review. Prev Med. 2008;46:397–411.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Paluska SA, Schwenk TL. Physical activity and mental health: current concepts. Sports Med. 2000;29:167–80.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    De Wit L, van Straten A, Lamers F, Cuijpers P, Penninx B. Are sedentary television watching and computer use behaviors associated with anxiety and depressive disorders? Psychiatry Res. 2011;186:239–43.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Primack BA, Swanier B, Georgiopoulos AM, Land SR, Fine MJ. Association between media use in adolescence and depression in young adulthood: a longitudinal study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66:181–8.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Teychenne M, Ball K, Salmon J. Sedentary behavior and depression among adults: a review. Int J Behav Med. 2010;17:246–54.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Bauman A, Ainsworth BE, Sallis JF, Hagströmer M, Craig CL, Bull FC, et al. The descriptive epidemiology of sitting. A 20-country comparison using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Am J Prev Med. 2011;41(2):228–35.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Inoue S, Sugiyama T, Takamiya T, Oka K, Owen N, Shimomitsu T. Television viewing time is associated with overweight/obesity among older adults, independent of meeting physical activity and health guidelines. J Epidemiol. 2012;22:50–6.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Liao Y, Harada K, Shibata A, Ishii K, Oka K, Nakamura Y, et al. Joint associations of physical activity and screen time with overweight among Japanese adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8:131.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Sugiyama T, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Salmon J, Owen N. Joint associations of multiple leisure-time sedentary behaviours and physical activity with obesity in Australian adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2008;1:35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Kolappa K, Henderson DC, Kishore SP. No physical health without mental health: lessons unlearned? Bull World Health Organ. 2013;91(1):3–3A.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Ishii K, Shibata A, Oka K. Association between recommended levels of physical activity and depressive symptoms among Japanese adults: a cross-sectional study. Mental Health Phys Act. 2011;4:57–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan. (2005). The national health and nutrition survey 2005. Tokyo. Retrieved 01.02.15 from. (in Japanese).

  17. 17.

    Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan. (2007). Employment status survey 2007. Retrieved 01.02.15 from.¼000001013824&cycode¼0 (in Japanese).

  18. 18.

    Shima S, Shikano T, Kitamura T, Asai M. New self-rating scales for depression. Seishin-Igaku. 1985;27:717–23 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    IPAQ website, IPAQ scoring protocol. (accessed Dec 12 2014)

  20. 20.

    Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:1423–34.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Patel AV, Bernstein L, Deka A, Feigelson HS, Campbell PT, Gapstur SM, et al. Leisure time spent sitting in relation to total mortality in a prospective cohort of US adults. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;172(4):419–29.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Murase N, Katsumura T, Ueda C, Inoue S, Shimomitsu T. International standardization of physical activity level: reliability and validity study of the Japanese version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) (Kosei no Shihyo). J Health Welf Stat. 2003;49:1–9 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Van Uffelen JG, van Gellecum YR, Burton NW, Peeters G, Heesch KC, Brown WJ. Sitting-time, physical activity, and depressive symptoms in mid-aged women. Am J Prev Med. 2013;45(3):276–81.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Stamatakis E, Davis M, Stathi A, Hamer M. Associations between multiple indicators of objectively-measured and self-reported sedentary behaviour and cardiometabolic risk in older adults. Prev Med. 2012;54(1):82–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Atkin AJ, Adams E, Bull FC, Biddle SJ. Non-occupational sitting and mental well-being in employed adults. Ann Behav Med. 2012;43(2):181–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Davies CA, Vandelanotte C, Duncan MJ, van Uffelen JG. Associations of physical activity and screen-time on health related quality of life in adults. Prev Med. 2012;55(1):46–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Carr LJ, Commentary on Atkin et al. (2011): non-occupational sitting and mental well-being in employed adults. Ann Behav Med. 2012;43(2):149-50.

  28. 28.

    Hallal PC, Gomez LF, Parra DC, Lobelo F, Mosquera J, Florindo AA, et al. Lessons learned after 10 years of IPAQ use in Brazil and Colombia. J Phys Act Health. 2010;7:S259–64.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Rzewnicki R, Vanden Auweele Y, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Addressing overreporting on the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) telephone survey with a population sample. Public Health Nutr. 2003;6:299–305.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Wijndaele K, DE Bourdeaudhuij I, Godino JG, Lynch BM, Griffin SJ, Westgate K, et al. Reliability and validity of a domain-specific last 7-d sedentary time questionnaire. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(6):1248–60.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Eysenbach G, Wyatt J. Using the Internet for surveys and health research. J Med Internet Res. 2002;4(2):E13.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Rhodes SD, Bowie DA, Hergenrather KC. Collecting behavioural data using the world wide web: considerations for researchers. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57:68–73.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Shibata A, Oka K, Harada K, Nakamura Y, Muraoka I. Psychological, social, and environmental factors to meeting physical activity recommendations among Japanese adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009;28:60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Vandelanotte C, Sugiyama T, Gardiner P, Owen N. Associations of leisure-time internet and computer use with overweight and obesity, physical activity and sedentary behaviors: cross-sectional study. J Med Internet Res. 2009;11(3):e28.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 26242070) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the 29th Research Grant in Medical and Health Science of Meiji Yasuda Life Foundation of Health and Welfare.

Conflict of Interest Statement

Yung Liao, Ai Shibata, Kaori Ishii, and Koichiro Oka declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yung Liao.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Liao, Y., Shibata, A., Ishii, K. et al. Independent and Combined Associations of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior with Depressive Symptoms Among Japanese Adults. Int.J. Behav. Med. 23, 402–409 (2016).

Download citation


  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Depression
  • Japanese