Physically Active Children May Have Reduced Symptoms of Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lars Wichstrøm, PhD
NTNU Social Reseach, Trondheim, Norway; and
Department of Psychology
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Trondheim, Norway

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research has linked physical activity, and particularly moderate to vigorous physical activity to less depression in adolescents and adults, but the potential prospective relationship between physical activity and depression in middle childhood has not yet been identified.

The main findings in this study support existing research by showing that physically active children have fewer symptoms of depression two years later compared to less physically active children, but there is no relationship between sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms in middle childhood.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our results indicate that increasing physical activity in children may prevent depression. Therefore promoting physical activity may have health benefits beyond the well-known physical benefits, and not only among those already suffering from mental health problems, but also in the general child population.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research should focus on replicating these findings in populations, as well as investigation the potential mechanisms behind this effect, preferably in other cultures.

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Citation:
Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Symptoms of Major Depression in Middle Childhood
Tonje Zahl, Silje Steinsbekk, Lars Wichstrøm
Pediatrics
January 2017

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