Wednesday April 8, 2020

Here’s How Prolonged Sitting Can lead to Depression Among Teenagers

Prolonged sitting is linked to depression risk in adolescents

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Depression
Young people who spend too much time sitting still are at an increased risk of depression. Pixabay

Here’s a health advice. Young people who spend too much time sitting still are at an increased risk of depression, researchers have warned.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, found that an additional 60 minutes of light activity (such as walking or doing chores) daily at age 12 was associated with a 10 per cent reduction in depressive symptoms at age 18.

“Our findings show that young people who are inactive for large proportions of the day throughout adolescence face a greater risk of depression by age 18,” said study lead author Aaron Kandola from University College London in the UK. “We found that any degree of physical activity that can reduce the time we spend sitting down is likely to be beneficial,” Kandola added.

For the findings, the research team used data from 4,257 adolescents, who have been participating in longitudinal research from birth as part of the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s cohort study.

Depression
Youngsters who are inactive for large proportions of the day throughout adolescence face a greater risk of depression by age 18. Pixabay

The children wore accelerometers to track their movement for at least 10 hours over at least three days, at ages 12, 14 and 16. The accelerometers reported whether the child was engaging in light activity (which could include walking or hobbies such as playing an instrument or painting), engaging in moderate-to-physical activity (such as running or cycling), or if they were sedentary.

Depressive symptoms, such as low mood, loss of pleasure and poor concentration, were measured with a clinical questionnaire. The questionnaire measures depressive symptoms and their severity on a spectrum, rather than providing a clinical diagnosis.

Between the ages of 12 and 16, total physical activity declined across the cohort, which was mainly due to a decrease in light activity and an increase in sedentary behaviour.

The researchers found that every additional 60 minutes of sedentary behaviour per day at age 12, 14 and 16 was associated with an increase in depression score of 11.1 per cent, eight per cent or 10.5 per cent, respectively, by age 18.

Those with consistently high amounts of time spent sedentary at all three ages had 28.2 per cent higher depression scores by age 18, the study said.

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Every additional hour of light physical activity per day at age 12, 14 and 16 was associated with depression scores at age 18 that were 9.6 per cent, 7.8 per cent and 11.1 per cent lower, respectively.

“Light activity could be particularly useful because it doesn’t require much effort and it’s easy to fit into the daily routines of most young people,” said study senior author Joseph Hayes. (IANS)

Next Story

Focus on Your Child’s Mental Health Amid COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19: Your child's mental health during self-isolation

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child emotional crisis
Self isolation can have a negative impact on your child's mental health amid the coronavirus crisis. Pixabay

Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic.

Children perceive changes in their surroundings as early as they come into this world. It is almost impossible to keep them in the dark about the pandemic, and also inadvisable.

It’s important to focus on our littlest and youngest members of society. Meghna Yadav, Head, Training and Development, KLAY Preschools and Daycare shares tips on how you can make kids and teenagers more aware.

child emotional crisis
Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic. Pixabay

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Provide age-appropriate information

It is not advisable to share all possible data and reports about the pandemic with children, but not sharing any information is not a wise decision either. So, the very first measure that adults need to follow is to provide age appropriate information to them. Providing facts to avoid confusion/misconceptions and explaining safety measures taken by family will help children stay focused on their contribution in fighting this virus.

‘Act like a soldier’

Children might feel helpless and anxious about the lockdown and the changes in routine. The best way to keep the positivity high in children is to provide them the feeling of being little soldiers fighting a battle, rather than the ones who are under threat. “To beat the virus, we need to stay indoors” is a better explanation of social distancing than to say, “We cannot go out.”

Social distancing does not mean social isolation

Socialising is the key for happiness of children and children may be feeling disconnected with their friends and peers while maintaining social distancing. As adults, we have to keep children socially connected with wise use of technology. Video call with friends and extended family members is a wonderful solution for maintaining human connection in the time of social distancing.

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Share the load

Parents are found to be under constant stress of not only protecting the family against the pandemic but also maintaining a work life balance in the crisis. Working for professional commitments amidst family chores is not easy to sustain for long durations. Sharing the load of household work is a win-win situation in this scenario. Asking children to help in daily chores like cleaning, washing, or mopping will not only reduce your burden but will also keep children busy and physically active while staying indoors.

child emotional crisis
It is important to take care of your child’s mental health to save them from emotional crisis and trauma. Pixabay

Know the 3 Rs

The mantra of Three Rs is found to be of great help for parents to maintain emotional stability of children in crisis.

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The three Rs include :

  • Reassurance
  • Routine
  • Regulation

Reassure: Provide age appropriate information and reassure them about their safety. Talk about ways to stay safe and keep expressing that you are there for them.

Routine: Routine gives predictability to children and this ultimately leads to a sense of control about the situation. Children might have a different routine than usual but providing a new routine through time zones like activity time, screen time, family board game time, cooking time helps in reducing their anxiety.

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Regulate: Parents need to regulate their own emotions to teach children self-efficacy in tough times. Children keenly observe and absorb the way parents respond to changing landscapes. So, parents need to be role models for children by staying strong and calm in turmoil.

It is natural to have higher degrees of fear and anxiety during these uncertain times, but what matters most is to recognise what we can do and be grateful for what we have. Stay connected and maintain your social network while maintaining social distancing. (IANS)