Study designs of evaluations included in the review
The author did not specify any inclusion and exclusion criteria in terms of study design. The included study designs were cross-sectional epidemiologic studies, prospective epidemiologic studies, quasi-experimental studies and randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that measured the effects of any type of physical activity (occupational or leisure-time) on anxiety and depression were eligible for inclusion. The majority of studies did not specify the type of physical activity.
Participants included in the review
Studies that included participants with symptoms of anxiety or depression according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV) were eligible. The following depression and anxiety disorders were specifically included: major depressive disorder; dysthymic disorder; depressive disorder not otherwise specified; panic disorder without agoraphobia; generalised anxiety disorder; and anxiety disorder not otherwise specified. Studies that measured depression secondary to other co-morbid conditions were excluded, as were studies of people with bipolar disorder, cyclothymia or substance-induced mood disorder.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that measured the effects of physical activity on symptoms of anxiety and depression were eligible. Studies that only examined the acute effects of exercise were excluded. Studies that did not specify the methods used to measure the anxiety and depression outcomes were excluded.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.