Objectives: Limited data exist on the link between psychological distress and regular physical activity in the general population. We examined the association of psychological distress with physical inactivity, independently of sociodemographic and behavioral factors in a large community sample. We also examined whether psychological distress is related to limitations in day-to-day activities due to emotional problems. Methods: Information on physical activity, sociodemographic, and behavioral factors was obtained through telephone interviews of 5708 subjects aged ≥ 21 years from a cross-sectional study-the first Israeli National Health Interview Survey (2003-2004). Psychological distress and limitations due to emotional problems were measured using the five-item Mental Health scale (MHI-5) and role emotional scales derived from the SF-36 questionnaire. Results: In multivariate analyses, high psychological distress level was associated with increased odds of physical inactivity among both men (adjusted OR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.09-1.55) and women (adjusted OR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.11-1.53). Psychological distress was strongly associated with limitations in day-to-day activities due to emotional problems. Conclusions: In this cross-sectional study of adult men and women, psychological distress was independently associated with physical inactivity. Psychological distress may limit day-to-day activities in general and reduce the success of health promotion activities. These findings could help in identifying subjects facing difficulties in initiation and adherence to these activities.
- Physical inactivity
- Psychological distress