Lower levels of physical activity in childhood associated with adult depression.

The University of Melbourne, Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences: Barwon Health Victoria, Australia.
Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia 12/2010; 14(3):222-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2010.10.458
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emerging evidence indicates that early life exposures influence adult health outcomes and there is cause to hypothesise a role for physical activity (PA) in childhood as a protective factor in adult depression. This study aimed to investigate the association between self-reported levels of PA in childhood and self-reported depressive illness. Lifetime depression and levels of physical activity (low/high) in childhood (<15 yr) were ascertained by self-report in 2152 adults (20-97 yr) participating in an ongoing epidemiological study in south-eastern Australia. Data were collected between 2000 and 2006. In this sample, 141 women (18.9%) and 169 men (12.0%) reported ever having a depressive episode. Low PA in childhood was associated with an increased risk of reporting depression in adulthood (OR=1.70, 95%CI=1.32-2.17, p<0.001). Adjustment for age, gender and adult PA attenuated the relationship somewhat (OR=1.35, 95%CI=1.01-1.78, p=0.04), however further adjustment for SES or country of birth did not affect this relationship. In this community-based study, lower levels of self-reported PA in childhood were associated with a 35% increase in odds for self-reported depression in adulthood. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that lower levels of PA in childhood may be a risk factor for adult depression.

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