Physically active children are less depressed

Previous studies have shown that adults and young people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing depression. But the same effect has not been studied in children — until now.

Results from a new study are showing that children receive the same beneficial effect from being active. We’re talking about moderate to vigorous physical activity that leaves kids sweaty or out of breath.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research have followed hundreds of children over four years to see if they could find a correlation between physical activity and symptoms of depression.

Full story of physically active children and depression at Science Daily

Loss of employer-based health insurance in early retirement affects mental, physical health

The loss of private health insurance from an employer can lead to poorer mental and physical health as older adults transition to early retirement, according to a study by Georgia State University.

The study evaluated the impact of private insurance coverage on the symptoms of depression, activities of daily living (such as getting dressed) and instrumental activities of daily life (such as shopping for groceries and taking medications) during the transition from full-time work to early full retirement. The findings are published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences.

Private health insurance is an important factor for the health of early retirees, and those who maintain steady coverage tend to fare best in retirement. Losing insurance from an employer was associated with increased symptoms of depression and limitations in daily activities.

Full story on loss of employer-based health and mental health at Science Daily

Children with ADHD may benefit from following healthy behaviors, new study suggests

A new study shows that children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder follow fewer healthy lifestyle behaviors than non-ADHD youth, suggesting that they may benefit from improving lifestyle choices such as increasing water consumption, decreasing screen time and getting at least one hour of physical activity per day.

The disorder is typically managed with prescriptions like Adderall or Ritalin, though many parents are worried about side effects from these medications, and are interested in alternative ways to minimize symptoms in their children. The new study, published online in the Journal of Attention Disorders, is the first to examine the total number of healthy lifestyle behaviors children with ADHD follow, as compared to typically developing children.

“Many parents of children diagnosed with ADHD do not want their children on medication,” said Kathleen Holton, lead study author and assistant professor in American University’s Department of Health Studies and member of AU’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. “Having their children follow healthy lifestyle behaviors may be an effective intervention either alongside or in the place of traditional ADHD medications.”

Full story of children with ADHD and healthy behaviors at Science Daily

Leisure time physical activity linked to lower depression risk

Being physically active three times a week reduces the odds of being depressed by approximately 16%, according to new UCL (University College London) research undertaken as part of the Public Health Research Consortium.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found a two-way relationship between depression and physical activity. People who increased their weekly activity reported fewer depressive symptoms but those with more depressive symptoms were less active, particularly at younger ages.

Researchers followed 11,135 people born in 1958 up until the age of 50, recording depressive symptoms and levels of physical activity at regular intervals in adulthood. They found that each additional activity session per week reduced odds of depression by 6%. In England 19% of men and 26% of women are currently classed as ‘inactive’, and this study suggests that activity could significantly improve their mental as well as physical health.

Full story of physical activity and depression risk at Science Daily