The influence of depression status on weekly exercise in children ages 6 to 17 years

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Abstract

Exercise has been found to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between depression status and weekly exercise in children ages 6 to 17 years stratifying by age and sex using a large nationally representative sample. The study data (n = 65,059) came from the 2011–12 National Survey of Children's Health. Depression categories were current, former, and no history of diagnosed depression. Exercise categories were exercising ≤6 days a week and 7 days a week. Multivariable regression stratified by age and by sex was conducted on the weighted survey data. Among children age 6 to 17, 95.2% were never depressed, 2.1% were formerly depressed, and 2.8% were currently depressed and 28.0% exercised daily. Currently depressed children had 0.75 (95% CI 0.56, 1.00) times and formerly depressed children had 1.09 (95% CI 0.76, 1.57) times the adjusted odds of exercising daily compared to never depressed children. Stratified separately by sex and by age, females and children age 12 to 17 with current depression had 0.63 (95% CI 0.42, 0.94) and 0.48 (95% CI 0.35, 0.66) times the adjusted odds of exercising daily compared to their counterparts with no depression. This study indicates a significant difference in daily exercise habits between currently depressed children age 12 to 17 and females compared to their never depressed counterparts. Healthcare workers should be aware of the possible heightened risk of physical inactivity for depressed female children and children age 12 to 17.

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Long, S., Rogers, M. L., & Gjelsvik, A. (2019). The influence of depression status on weekly exercise in children ages 6 to 17 years. Preventive Medicine Reports, 13, 199–204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.12.018

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