January 22, 2023
Physical activity can significantly reduce depressive symptoms in children and adolescents, according to a recent study published in . JAMA Pediatrics. 1
A meta-analysis of 21 studies involving 2,441 participants (47% boys, 53% girls) aged 11 to 19 years found that physical activity may help reduce depressive symptoms in young patients. I understand. Twelve studies also demonstrated benefits of physical activity for participants with physical or mental disorders such as depression, obesity, ADHD, and diabetes.
Findings revealed that physically active teenagers experienced a marked reduction in depressive symptoms more than younger participants. Older, sedentary children may be more responsive to the intervention, although they may be sufficiently active,” the researchers said.
After analyzing the frequency and duration of physical activity, the researchers determined that three bouts of physical activity lasting at least 30 minutes provided the greatest improvement in depressive symptoms.
“Depression is the second most common psychiatric disorder among children and adolescents, yet only a small percentage seek or receive disorder-specific treatment,” the researchers said. “Physical activity interventions show promise as an alternative or adjunctive approach to clinical treatment of depression.” 2
Benefits of physical activity for comorbidities
This study suggests that physical activity may alleviate the comorbid symptoms of anxiety and ADHD, affecting 75% and 57% of children with depression, respectively.3,Four
The results of this survey mirror those of the 2017 survey. addition The study found that 37% of children with ADHD managed their symptoms with daily exercise. About half of the respondents rated exercise as a “very” or “very” effective treatment. This is the highest rating of any ADHD treatment included in the study.
“Cardio, especially outdoors, helps my daughter,” said one. addition A reader recently investigated the effects of exercise. “After a day or two of doing nothing, she becomes depressed.”
Another parent said, “I see great improvement in my son after physical activity. My son and I both have YMCA memberships and attend YMCA at least three times a week.He enjoys the elliptical, rower, spin bike, auto stepper and treadmill.”
many addition Reader panelists say exercise is an effective treatment, but many say it is difficult to induce children to participate in physical activity.
“My teenage daughter has depressive symptoms and has seen her mood improve with being active, but it took her a long time to start exercising,” said one parent. . “She used to play tennis, soccer and skiing, but she stopped exercising when she went to college.”
Physical activity should be regular and consistent to maintain mental health benefits. addition reader. One parent said, “In just a few months, we found that the lack of physical activity in his life had exacerbated all his depressive symptoms.”
Another parent said, “We can see her behavior improving with doing more physical activity, but I couldn’t say we noticed a direct correlation with her mood.” , noticed that her mood and behavior deteriorated when she was inactive or had too much screen time. We will be adding family yoga in the coming weeks.”
“My son always gets better when he moves, but unfortunately it is very difficult to move,” wrote another parent. “After shooting the hoops, I noticed that he was much calmer and in a better mood, so I’m trying to encourage him to go out and do it.”
But exercise is not a panacea.of addition Five percent of survey respondents felt that exercise was “not very effective” or “not at all effective” in dealing with ADHD symptoms.
“Physical activity has no lasting effect on his depression and intense emotions,” said one person. addition reader panelist. Another said, “The positive results of physical activity last as long as the activity is taking place, but then quickly disappear.”
One parent explained that physical activity had a negative impact on her child’s symptoms. , she needs more mental activity to help her.
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1Recchia F., Bernal JDK, Fong DY, et al. (2023). Physical activity interventions to alleviate depressive symptoms in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatricshttps://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.5090
2Erskine HE, Baxter AJ, Patton G., et al. (2017). Global coverage of psychiatric disorder prevalence data in children and adolescents. Epidemiol Psychiatry. 26(4):395-402. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796015001158
3Angold, A., Costello, EJ (1993). Comorbidities of depression in children and adolescents: empirical, theoretical, and methodological issues. Am J Psychiatry150(12):1779-1791. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.150.12.1779
FourBirmaher, B., Brent, D., Bernet, W., et al. (2007). His AACAP workgroup on quality issues. Practice parameters for the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents with depressive disorders. J am Akad Child Address Psychiatry46(11):1503-1526. https://doi.org/10.1097/chi.0b013e318145ae1