This research review paper has been published in JAMA Pediatrics.
Question: Can physical activity interventions alleviate depressive symptoms in children and adolescents?
Findings: This systematic review and meta-analysis included 21 studies involving 2441 participants. The results indicate that physical activity interventions were associated with significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared with the control condition.
Meaning: The available evidence supports physical activity interventions as an alternative or adjunctive approach to alleviate depressive symptoms in children and adolescents, substantiating the beneficial influence of physical activity on the mental health of pediatric populations.
Importance: Depression is the second most prevalent mental disorder among children and adolescents, yet only a small proportion seek or receive disorder-specific treatment. Physical activity interventions hold promise as an alternative or adjunctive approach to clinical treatment for depression.
Objective: To determine the association of physical activity interventions with depressive symptoms in children and adolescents.
Conclusions and Relevance: Physical activity interventions may be used to reduce depressive symptoms in children and adolescents. Greater reductions in depressive symptoms were derived from participants older than 13 years and with a mental illness and/or depression diagnosis. The association with physical activity parameters such as frequency, duration, and supervision of the sessions remains unclear and needs further investigation.
You can read the full abstract – and potentially access the full paper – from here.