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Ann Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004; 3: 12.
Published online Jun 29, 2004. doi:  10.1186/1475-2832-3-12
PMCID: PMC449721
Can physical activity improve the mental health of older adults?
Nicola T Lautenschlager,1 Osvaldo P Almeida,1 Leon Flicker,2 and Aleksandar Jancacorresponding author1
1School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
2School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Nicola T Lautenschlager: nicolal/at/cyllene.uwa.edu.au; Osvaldo P Almeida: osvalm/at/cyllene.uwa.edu.au; Leon Flicker: leon.flicker/at/health.wa.gov.au; Aleksandar Janca: ajanca/at/cyllene.uwa.edu.au
Received June 22, 2004; Accepted June 29, 2004.
Abstract
The world population is aging rapidly. Whilst this dramatic demographic change is a desirable and welcome phenomenon, particularly in view of people's increasing longevity, it's social, financial and health consequences can not be ignored. In addition to an increase of many age related physical illnesses, this demographic change will also lead to an increase of a number of mental health problems in older adults and in particular of dementia and depression. Therefore, any health promotion approach that could facilitate introduction of effective primary, secondary and even tertiary prevention strategies in old age psychiatry would be of significant importance. This paper explores physical activity as one of possible health promotion strategies and evaluates the existing evidence that supports its positive effect on cognitive impairment and depression in later life.
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