Depressive Symptoms and Behavior-Related Risk Factors, Italian Population-Based Surveillance System, 2013
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Depressive Symptoms and Behavior-Related Risk Factors, Italian Population-Based Surveillance System, 2013

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Depression may increase the likelihood of adopting behaviors risky to health. Population studies investigating the association between depressive symptoms and behavior-related risk factors are lacking in Italy. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of various self-reported behavior-related risk factors and to study their associations with current depressive symptoms in the Italian adult general population.


    Data collected in 2013 from people aged 18 to 69 years participating in the Italian behavioral risk factor surveillance system were used for the analysis. Indicators of no leisure-time physical activity, obesity, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption were investigated. Depressive symptoms were explored through the Patient Health Questionnaire-2.


    In the survey sample of 39,463 participants, 34.4% of adults engaged in no leisure-time physical activity, 26.2% were cigarette smokers, 11.5% were excessive alcohol consumers, and 10.3% were obese. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 6.2%. People with depressive symptoms were more likely to be physically inactive (adjusted prevalence ratio [APR], 1.13), cigarette smokers (APR, 1.34), obese (APR, 1.27) and excessive alcohol consumers (APR, 1.43) than those without depressive symptoms.


    The contribution of this study to the existing evidence lies not just in confirming the association between depression and behavior-related risk factors in the Italian context but also in suggesting that programs for simultaneously improving people’s mental and physical health should be developed and implemented.

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