Sitting Still Linked to Increased Risk of Depression in Adolescents
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2020 May 26
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on University College London.
A Lancet Psychiatry study found that an additional 60 minutes of light activity (such as walking or doing chores) daily at age 12 was associated with a 10% reduction in depressive symptoms at age 18.
“Our findings show that young people who are inactive for large proportions of the day throughout adolescence face a greater risk of depression by age 18. We found that it’s not just more intense forms of activity that are good for our mental health, but any degree of physical activity that can reduce the time we spend sitting down is likely to be beneficial,” said the study’s lead author, Ph.D. student Aaron Kandola (UCL Psychiatry).
“We should be encouraging people of all ages to move more, and to sit less, as it’s good for both our physical and mental health.”
The research team used data from 4,257 adolescents, who have been participating in longitudinal research from birth as part of the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s cohort study. The children wore accelerometers to track their movement for at least 10 hours over at least three days, at ages 12, 14, and 16.
Between the ages of 12 and 16, total physical activity declined across the cohort, which was mainly due to a decrease in light activity (from an average of five hours, 26 minutes to four hours, five minutes) and an increase in sedentary behavior (from an average of seven hours and 10 minutes to eight hours and 43 minutes).
The researchers found that every additional 60 minutes of sedentary behavior per day at age 12, 14, and 16 was associated with an increase in depression score of 11.1%, 8%, or 10.5%, respectively, by age 18. Those with consistently high amounts of time spent sedentary at all three ages had 28.2% higher depression scores by age 18.
Every additional hour of light physical activity per day at age 12, 14, and 16 was associated with depression scores at age 18 that were 9.6%, 7.8%, and 11.1% lower, respectively.
“Worryingly, the amount of time that young people spend inactive has been steadily rising for years, but there has been a surprising lack of high-quality research into how this could affect mental health. The number of young people with depression also appears to be growing and our study suggests that these two trends may be linked,” Kandola added.
Source: University College London