Lack of activity as a child could mean higher risk for depression as adults, study says

A study finds that children who are not active have a higher risk of developing depression as adults.

The study out of London, published in Lancet Psychiatry, found that teenagers who were sedentary between the ages of 12 to 16 had a higher chance of developing depressive symptoms at age 18 and beyond.

ABC News reports researchers followed 4,257 teens for six-year starting at age 12 to see if there was a link between physical activity, sedentary behavior and depressive symptoms.

Examples of sedentary behavior include screen time on smartphones, playing video games, watching television and reading. The results showed that when sedentary behavior increased and light activity decreased, both led to depressive symptoms at 18 years old and beyond.

"The importance of exercise to mental health is becoming more recognized each year," Dr. Alexander Sanchez told ABC. "Exercise has correlated with a decrease in depressive symptoms, including improvement of mood and attention, regulation of sleep and increase in self-esteem. Outdoor exercise and exposure to nature is especially noted to increase overall feeling of well-being."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends one hour of physical activity daily for children and adolescents, including moderate or vigorous physical activity. Past studies have linked a lack of exercise in childhood to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and death.

For the full story by ABC News, check here.
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