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


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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    • "Epidemiological studies have shown that adequate PA (based on clinical guidelines) is associated with fewer depressive symptoms, while insufficient PA may be a risk factor for the development of depressive symptoms [51-54]. This risk factor may be best modified in early development, [55] as regular PA in childhood is associated with reduced risk of developing depression in adulthood. This effect was found even after adjusting for adult PA. "
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of depression appears to have increased over the past three decades. While this may be an artefact of diagnostic practices, it is likely that there are factors about modernity that are contributing to this rise. There is now compelling evidence that a range of lifestyle factors are involved in the pathogenesis of depression. Many of these factors can potentially be modified, yet they receive little consideration in the contemporary treatment of depression, where medication and psychological intervention remain the first line treatments. "Lifestyle Medicine" provides a nexus between public health promotion and clinical treatments, involving the application of environmental, behavioural, and psychological principles to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. This may also provide opportunities for general health promotion and potential prevention of depression. In this paper we provide a narrative discussion of the major components of Lifestyle Medicine, consisting of the evidence-based adoption of physical activity or exercise, dietary modification, adequate relaxation/sleep and social interaction, use of mindfulness-based meditation techniques, and the reduction of recreational substances such as nicotine, drugs, and alcohol. We also discuss other potential lifestyle factors that have a more nascent evidence base, such as environmental issues (e.g. urbanisation, and exposure to air, water, noise, and chemical pollution), and the increasing human interface with technology. Clinical considerations are also outlined. While data supports that some of these individual elements are modifiers of overall mental health, and in many cases depression, rigorous research needs to address the long-term application of Lifestyle Medicine for depression prevention and management. Critically, studies exploring lifestyle modification involving multiple lifestyle elements are needed. While the judicious use of medication and psychological techniques are still advocated, due to the complexity of human illness/wellbeing, the emerging evidence encourages a more integrative approach for depression, and an acknowledgment that lifestyle modification should be a routine part of treatment and preventative efforts.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · BMC Psychiatry
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    • "Across a 2-year period, Motl and colleagues (106) found changes in physical activity were inversely related to a change in depressive symptoms. Levels of physical activity in childhood can modulate the risk of adult depression (107). Exercise modulates many of the core biomarkers of neuroprogression, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurotrophins (108). "
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    ABSTRACT: The mood disorder prodrome is conceptualized as a symptomatic, but not yet clinically diagnosable stage of an affective disorder. Although a growing area, more focused research is needed in the pediatric population to better characterize psychopathological symptoms and biological markers that can reliably identify this very early stage in the evolution of mood disorder pathology. Such information will facilitate early prevention and intervention, which has the potential to affect a person's disease course. This review focuses on the prodromal characteristics, risk factors, and neurobiological mechanisms of mood disorders. In particular, we consider the influence of early-life stress, inflammation, and allostatic load in mediating neural mechanisms of neuroprogression. These inherently modifiable factors have known neuroadaptive and neurodegenerative implications, and consequently may provide useful biomarker targets. Identification of these factors early in the course of the disease will accordingly allow for the introduction of early interventions which augment an individual's capacity for psychological resilience through maintenance of synaptic integrity and cellular resilience. A targeted and complementary approach to boosting both psychological and physiological resilience simultaneously during the prodromal stage of mood disorder pathology has the greatest promise for optimizing the neurodevelopmental potential of those individuals at risk of disabling mood disorders.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Frontiers in Psychiatry
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    • "Physical comorbidities similarly are more common among those with obesity, as they are in those with depression (Bell et al., 2011) and, thus, inflammation associated with physical illness may underpin the link between obesity and negative affect. Physical inactivity (Jacka et al., 2011b; Pasco et al., 2011a, 2011b) and poor quality diet (Jacka et al., 2010) are key underlying lifestyle behaviours that predispose both obesity and mood. Whilst it is suggested that food intake generally enhances mood (Schulz and Laessle, 2010), awareness of excessive food intake and emotional eating may contribute to the links between obesity and psychological distress. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine the cross-sectional association between overweight and obesity and positive and negative affect. Method: Participants included 273 women, aged 29–84 years, who were enrolled in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS). Weight and height were measured and overweight and obesity determined from body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) according to WHO criteria. Medical history and lifestyle exposures were assessed by questionnaire. Positive and negative affect scores were derived using the validated 20-item Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and categorised into tertiles. Results: A pattern of greater negative affect scores was observed for increasing levels of BMI. Setting normal weight as the referent category, the odds for having a negative affect score in the highest tertile were sequentially increased for women who were overweight (OR = 1.31, 95% CI: 0.72–2.40) and obese (OR = 1.95, 95% CI: 1.02–3.73). The associa- tion between obesity and increased negative affect was diminished by adjusting for physical illness (adjusted OR = 1.76, 95% CI: 0.91–3.42). These associations were not substantially influenced by positive affect score or other exposures. No association was detected between BMI categories and positive affect scores. Conclusions: We report data suggesting that obesity is associated with greater negative affect scores, reflecting emotions such as distress, anger, disgust, fear and shame, and that this association is attenuated by physical illness. Further investigations are now warranted to explore possible mechanistic interplay between pathological, neurobiological and psychosocial factors.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
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