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Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity at Ages 6 and 8 Linked to Fewer Symptoms of Depression Two Years Later

A Norway study of children whose physical activity was measured at ages 6 and 8 found that those who displayed higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous activity showed fewer symptoms of major depressive disorder two years later. The study, “Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Symptoms of Major Depression in Middle Childhood,” will be published in the February 2017 issue of Pediatrics (online Jan. 9). The study found that sedentary behavior did not predict depression, and, likewise, that depression did not predict later physical activity or sedentary behavior. The researchers analyzed data from 799 children who wore a device around their waist for seven consecutive days that measured their activity. The authors concluded that, although the effect was small, the results suggested that increasing physical activity in children may prevent some symptoms of depression.

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