Physical Activity Levels Impact on Depressive Symptoms in Rural Children with Overweight/Obesity
Children with higher than average depression scores have lower physical activity levels than those with average depression scores, according to the results of a recent study presented at ObesityWeek 2020.
These findings come as part of a study on the relationship between overweight/obesity, physical activity level, and depressive symptoms in rural areas. Children living in rural areas are known to have a higher risk of overweight/obesity, as well as are less likely to be active. This cross-sectional study was conducted to further explore the factors that influence depressive symptoms in this population.
Participants of the study included 149 children in second to fourth grade. To be included in the study, children had to have overweight or obesity, regarded as 85th or higher body mass index percentile. In addition, the children were from rural areas with a population of less than 20,000. To measure the outcomes, participants wore a physical activity monitor for 7 days and completed the Children’s Depression Inventory.
While no significant differences were noted between the 2 groups for sedentary time or moderate to vigorous physical activity, it was found that 10% (n = 15) of the children had higher than average depressive symptom scores. Higher than average scores were determined by a t-score of 60 or more, corresponding to both the clinical and preclinical range.
The results indicated that the children with higher depressive scores had spent 30 minutes less than their peers on light-intensity physical activity, as well as had an average of 1217 fewer steps each day.
“Findings add to the research by examining the relationship between [physical activity] and depressive symptoms in rural children with overweight/obesity and follows relationships previously demonstrated in research,” the researchers concluded. “Further research is warranted to better understand this multidirectional relationship and to examine the impact of increasing [physical activity] in youth with obesity and depression.”
Forseth B, Swinburne Romine RE, Dean KM, et al. Physical activity and depressive symptoms in rural children with overweight/obesity. Talk presented at: Obesity Week; November 2-6, 2020; Virtual. https://tos.planion.com/Web.User/AbstractDet?ACCOUNT=TOS&ABSID=23835&CONF=OW2020&ssoOverride=OFF&CKEY=