Exercise helps prevent depression in teenagers

Exercise helps prevent depression in teenagers

  • Healthy living is a life style and is also all about staying educated on the latest medical research that can help improve your life.
  • With all the advancements in technology and the busy lifestyle that we live in the United States, exercise is becoming an afterthought with adults and kids.
  • According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, “Only one in three children are physically active every day.” This combined with poor American dietary practices has lead to a doubling of childhood obesity in the past 30 years as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • This sedentary lifestyle epidemic causes many health problems due to obesity, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancers.
  • Another increasingly common problem in teens is depression.
  • It is considered one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, the National Institutes of Mental Health reports. According to a study presented at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention, physical fitness and exercise may be linked to the prevention of depression in teens, especially girls.
  • Researchers considered the existing symptoms of depression and weight, and even then, sixth-grade girls who faired better on a cardiorespiratory fitness test were less likely to suffer from depression in the seventh grade. There was a similar effect, although smaller, on boys’ depression, according to the results presented by Camilo Ruggero, PhD, of the University of North Texas.
  • The team of researchers surveyed 437 students, 55 percent of whom were girls, at six middle schools in North Texas as part of a countywide effort to analyze physical fitness. Sixth and seventh grade participants answered questions about depression and fitness. They were also weighed and participated in a fitness test involving short running bursts of speed.
  • A student’s physical activity level may change from week to week, whereas fitness is a result of more prolonged physical activity,” Ruggero explained. “Assessing the students’ body mass index, how well they performed on a shuttle-run test and their own feelings of personal fitness helps to give us a more complete picture of each student’s fitness level.”
  • Twenty-eight percent of the sixth grade girls and twenty-nine percent of the seventh grade girls had increased symptoms of depression. Seventh grade boys had a 22 percent increase and eighth grade boys had a 19 percent increase in depression. However, researchers found that that once they controlled for this, fitness was a key factor to reducing depression a year later.
  • The World Health Organization’s ‘Health for the world’s adolescents’ report reveals that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years.
  • Depression that begins at this time can lead to chronic or recurring depression in later years,” Ruggero said. “Fitness programs are one way to help prevent depression in middle-schoolers, but schools should also use other interventions, such as one-on-one or group therapy, that more directly address symptom treatment among depressed adolescents.”
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  • Take a healthy living step and educate your children on the importance of physical fitness.

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