Getting Your Child Active Could Help Prevent Depression


It's common sense at this point that exercising makes people feel better overall.  Exercising is a great form of preventative care when it comes to mental illness, and there is plenty of research to back that up when it comes to our understanding of adult psychology. But despite this widespread understanding, the exact benefits of exercise as it relates to children's mental health has not been adequately researched. With 5% of all children and adolescents suffering from depression alone, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology took matters into their own hands by studying the correlation between physical activity and depression in children. The project, Tidlig Tryff i Trondheim,  observed 1,500 children for four years to determine the benefits of physical activity.

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The team found that children who were physically active at age 6 and 8 years old were less likely to have symptoms of depression 2 years later.
— Catharine Paddock PhD

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The Tidlig Tryff i Trondheim study measured the physical activity of children through an accelerometer which the children wore around their waist 24/7 unless bathing or showering. Children that were routinely physically active to the point that they began to sweat and struggle for breath had fewer symptoms of major depressive disorder 2 years later. 

Symptoms of depression in children are not necessarily the same as those observed in adults.

Symptoms can include (but are not limited to): Frequent tearfulness, Increased anger or hostility , loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, loss of appetite or change in eating habits, problems with relationships, poor communication, social isolation.
— Catharine Paddock PhD

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Further research through randomized studies is encouraged in the field to determine precisely how physical activity helps with depression prevention. Whether physical activity acts by distracting children from negative thoughts, building their self-esteem, or giving them the opportunity to socialize, the positive results should encourage us to get our youth active! 

Article Source:

Paddock, C. (2017, January 31). Could Physical Activity Protect Children from Depression? Retrieved February 06, 2017, from

Video Source: 

[Emeritus Senior Living]. (2014, May 6). Exercise your way to better brain health. [Video File]. Retrieved from