Most of us remember running around and playing outside for hours when we think of our childhood. But it's no secret that this situation has changed drastically in today's day and age. Most kids these days are glued to their screens and end up becoming couch potatoes. While that can definitely have a drastic effect on their physical health, did you know that it could also severely impact mental health? A new study has found that prolonged periods of sitting during adolescence could lead to greater risks or developing depression later in life.
New research believes that there might be a direct correlation between increased sedentary time and growing numbers of young people with depression. It was even found that people who opted for at least an hour of light activity like walking around the block or doing household chores saw a decreased risk of developing depression by the time they turned 18.
For the study, researchers conducted a survey on around 4,257 adolescents who were required to wear accelerometers to track their movement for at least 10 hours over at least three days. These children started out with the survey at the age of 12, it was conducted again at the age of 14 and then once again at the age of 16. The device helped show the researchers whether the child was sedentary, engaging in light physical activity or engaging in moderate to high physical activity.
The children were also asked to fill out a questionnaire which helped the researchers figure out whether the kids were having any depressive symptoms. Lead author and UCL Psychiatry PhD student Aaron Kandola said, “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. 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.”
“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.”