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Letters to the Editor
May 2010

Causal Associations of Physical Activity/Exercise and Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Campus Charité Mitte, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(5):540-541. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.44

In their article1 published in August 2008, De Moor and colleagues demonstrated that although regular exercise in the general population is associated with reduced anxiety and depression, this correlation is not a causal effect of exercise, as is often implicitly assumed in population-based studies and has been reported from several clinical studies.2 Using an elegant design with cross-sectional and longitudinal data from monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs, De Moor and colleagues were able to disprove this assumption of causality in a large sample. Instead, they found that there are common genetic factors influencing both exercise behavior and anxious or depressive symptoms.1

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