Children who sit too much ‘more likely to get depressed’

Children who spend lots of time sitting still are more likely to develop depression by the age of 18, a study suggests.

Researchers at University College London looked at the activity levels of 4,257 12- to 16-year-olds.

Those who did an additional hour of light activity each day, such as walking or chores, had fewer depressive symptoms when they reached adulthood.

The study suggests people of all ages should be encouraged to move more.

The participants, from the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s cohort study, wore accelerometers for at least 10 hours on at least three consecutive days (except when they were washing or doing water sports) at the ages of 12, 14 and 16.

These devices showed whether they were sitting still, engaging in light activity – such as walking or engaging in moderate to vigorous activity – such as running or cycling.

The children also filled out a questionnaire that measured depressive symptoms such as low mood, loss of pleasure and poor concentration.

Between the ages of 12 and 16, physical activity declined, while sedentary behaviour increased, the study says.

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