Exercise may protect against depression, but this study doesn’t show it

Children who get enough exercise aren’t just more physically fit, but also have better mental health in adulthood, according to research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. (But see our analysis below.)

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, established a ‘considerable’ link between physical activity and good mental health.

The researchers say the results could help reduce rising rates of depression in young adults. Depression in teenagers aged 15 and 16 has nearly doubled since the 1980s, according to the charity YoungMinds.

They examined just under 800 children when they were six years old, and conducted follow-up examinations with about 700 of them when they were eight and 10 years old. Physical activity was measured with accelerometers, and parents were interviewed about their children’s mental health.

Prev1 of 2Next