Physical activity, something mist parents encourage in their children, has been shown to have a surprise benefit besides physical health it can also lower the risk for depression in children. In a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 700 children at two year intervals from ages 6-10 were followed over four years, children who had regular exercise were less likely to develop depression. Studies have been done before on this topic but only examined teenagers and adults with similar results. This is the first study of it’s kind, examining children. This new study can be read in the February 2017 issue of Journal Pediatrics.

Activity in children who get moderate to vigorous exercise involving getting sweaty, even rough housing can treat and even prevent childhood depression. Silje Steinsbekk, a associate professor of psychology at the university, and co-author of the paper relates these findings are important but further research is necessary as studying children who do have depression had inconclusive results when. Trying to determine that they have lower activity levels and the study could not determine regular exercise causes risks of depression to drop. The findings are promising and are can lead to more research proving exercise boots mental health in children.

Key Points:

  • 1Studies have shown reduced risk of depression in teens and adults that get moderate exercise and a new study suggests it may also be true of younger children.
  • 2The study was conducted by researches at Norwegian University of Science and Technology over 4 years and followed about 700 children.
  • 3The study did not find that children with symptoms of depression were less physically active.


Kids who got regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise were less likely to develop depression over those four years, the investigators found.

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