Key predictors for combination of alcohol use disorder and depression uncovered
If a child recorded sedentary behavior at all three time points, the depression scores were about 30% higher in late adolescence.
If the amount of light activity was considered, each additional 60 minutes at these time points was linked to a lowering of the depression scores by 9.6%, 7.8%, and 11.1% lower, respectively.
Moreover, moderate-to-heavy activity in childhood was associated with lower depression scores, but the evidence for this is weaker because the average child spends only about 20 minutes a day doing this level of activity. In other words, they cannot differentiate between the beneficial effects of light and heavy or moderate activity from these results. Implications
The observational nature of the study means that the exercise or activity can’t be said to be the cause of the reduction in depressive symptoms. However, in their analysis the researchers adjusted for the effects of other factors which could also cause an increase or decrease in depression, such as socioeconomic factors, a history of mental issues in the parents, and the amount of time for which the accelerometer is worn.
They also prevented the possibility of the cause-effect relationship occurring the other way around, that is, that the lesser physical activity was the effect and not the cause of depression, in their analysis. They did this by taking into consideration the presence of depressive symptoms at the beginning of the study. The way out
Sitting too much is already known to be a risk factor for early death, overweight, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression or anxiety in adults. One meta-analysis of 13 studies on this topic found that sitting for over 8 hours a day without any compensating physical activity brought the risk of death to a level comparable to that of smokers and obese people. To counter this, just one hour or 75 minutes of moderately heavy activity could reduce this risk.
Kandola says that inactivity has been on the rise among youngsters for many years, but not much reliable research has been done into the effect of this sedentary lifestyle on their mental health. This is despite the fact that the number of young people who have depressive symptoms is on the rise. He says, “Our study suggests that these two trends may be linked.”
Senior study author Joseph Hayes adds, “A lot of initiatives promote exercise in young people, but our findings suggest that light activity should be given more attention as well. Light activity could be particularly useful because it doesn't require much effort and it's easy to fit into the daily routines of most young people.” He suggests standing or active school lessons, for instance, because, according to him, small environmental changes could make a more active life easier for everyone. Journal reference:
Depressive symptoms and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour throughout adolescence: a prospective cohort study Kandola, Aaron et al. The Lancet Psychiatry, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(20)30034-1/fulltext
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