Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Latest Research
By Davey Dunn
The effects of a multi-modal intervention trial of light, exercise, and vitamins on women's mood.
The purpose of this study performed at the Universtity of Washington was to test the efficacy of a tri-modal intervention (LEVITY) to improve women's mood. This eight-week randomized experiment with a placebo-control group targeted women with symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Women in the intervention group were instructed to take a brisk 20-minute outdoor walk at target heart rate of 60% of maximum heart rate, to increase light exposure throughout the day and to take a specific vitamin regimen. Women in the control group took a daily placebo vitamin. The sample consisted of 112 women ages 19-78 who reported mild to moderate depressive symptoms. They were in otherwise good health and were not currently taking any mood-altering medication. Pre- and post-intervention assessment utilized live measures of mood: Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression Scale, Profile of Mood States, Depression-Happiness Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the General Well-Being Schedule. Analysis of covariance indicated that the intervention was effective in improving women's overall mood, self-esteem, and general sense of well-being and in decreasing symptoms on two measures of depression. Of particular note, the data from all five outcome measures supported the efficacy of the intervention. In addition, a high level of adherence to the intervention protocol was observed with two-thirds of the women reporting 100% adherence. Study implications suggest that this type of intervention may provide an effective, clinically manageable therapy for mild-to-moderately depressed women who prefer a self-directed approach or who have difficulties with the cost or side-effects of medication or psychotherapy.
COMMENTARY: Most people are already aware that exercise and vitamin supplementation are important to insure good physical health. This study helps to show that exercise and vitamin supplementation when combined with increased light exposure can also have a positive effect upon mental health and help to decrease depression.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS STUDY? Exercise, nutritional supplementation with vitamins and increased exposure to light can help improve a women's overall mood, self-esteem, and general sense of well-being.
Brown MA, Goldstein-Shirley J, Robinson J, Casey S.   Women Health 2001;34(3):93-112
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