201080 Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and associated physical activity levels among US service members

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:00 PM

Cynthia A. LeardMann, MPH , DoD Center for Deployment Health Research, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA
Molly L. Kelton, MS , DoD Center for Deployment Health Research, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA
Besa Smith, MPH, PhD , DoD Center for Deployment Health Research, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA
Edward J. Boyko, MD, MPH , Department of Veteran's Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center, Seattle, WA
Timothy S. Wells, DVM, MPH, PhD , Hepa, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH
Alyson Littman, PhD , Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center, Department of Veteran's Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA
Tyler C. Smith, MS, PhD , DoD Center for Deployment Health Research, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with many physical and psychological comorbidites and adverse behaviors. The relationship between PTSD symptoms and positive health behaviors, however, is not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine the association of physical activity with prospectively assessed PTSD symptoms in a large military cohort. Baseline and follow-up questionnaire data from the Millennium Cohort Study, a large prospective study of US military service members, were used. Three types of physical activity light/moderate, vigorous, and strength training - were assessed in relation to PTSD symptoms. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds of new-onset and persistent PTSD symptoms by physical activity levels at follow-up. Of the 38,883 study participants, 89.4% reported at least 30 minutes per week of any type of physical activity. New-onset PTSD symptoms were associated with lower levels of all activity types. Vigorous physical activity had the strongest, most consistent inverse association with PTSD symptoms. Individuals reporting at least 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity twice per week had approximately 40% reduced odds for new-onset and persistent symptoms. Previous studies examining the relationship between mental health and physical activity have focused on depression and anxiety. These findings contribute to emerging research in PTSD and associated physical activity and may lead to enhanced care for service members in the future.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe physical activity levels in a large military cohort. 2. Evaluate the association of physical activity and PTSD symptoms. 3. Differentiate between three different types of activity.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior epidemiologist/biostatistician at the DoD Center for Deployment Health Research and have contributed extensively to this research project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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