Depression and its association with functional status and physical activity in the elderly in Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the functional status and level of physical activity and their association with depression in the elderly population (age 60 and above) in Karachi, Pakistan.Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Subjects were recruited through multi-stage cluster sampling technique. Questionnaire-based interviews were conducted from July to September 2008. Functional status and physical activity were assessed using activities of daily living (ADL) and physical activity questionnaires, respectively. Depression was evaluated using the 15-item geriatric depression scale (GDS).Results: Both mean ADL score (9.9±0.2 vs. 9.6±0.2) as well as time spent in physical activity/week (377.3±26.9min vs. 251.7±15.4min) was higher in men than women, respectively. Subjects spending more than 310min (>5.2h) per week in physical activity were 60% less likely to be depressed compared to those who spent less than 120min (<2h) per week (Adjusted OR=0.4, 95% CI=0.2-0.7). A one unit increase in ADL score showed a 10% decrease in depression after adjusting for other variables (Adjusted OR=0.9, 95% CI=0.8-0.9).CONCLUSIONS: We found a strong association between depression and time spent in physical activities as well as activities of daily living. Our results indicate the potentially important positive role of higher functional status and physical activity in prevention of depression in the elderly in Karachi.


Asian Journal of Psychiatry