Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and mental health in young people
2013-09-25T11:32:06Z (GMT) by
Physical Activity and Health Abstract: More research is needed in physical activity and sedentary behaviour and their associations with mental health in young people. Study 1 examined the effect size for the association between sedentary behaviour and mental health in young people aged 5-18 years of age, using a meta-analysis. Results from 37 independent studies (n=373, 512) showed a small but significant effect size (r=-0.30, 95% CI= -0.20, -0.45, p<0.001), indicating that sedentary behaviour is associated with mental health problems in young people. Study 2 examined the association between sedentary behaviour and mental health in African young people. Participants were 296 adolescents (150 males, 146 females) aged 13 to 18 years (mean=14.85 years) living in Ghana. Participants physical activity levels were assessed using the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Adolescents (PAQ-A) and sedentary behaviour, using the Adolescents Sedentary Activity Questionnaire. Depression was assessed using the Children Depression Inventory and aspects of self-esteem were measured with the Physical Self-worth test and body image silhouette test. There was a significant negative correlation between physical activity and mental health [depression (r= -0.78, p<0.001); physical self-worth (r=0.71, p<0.001); body dissatisfaction (r= -0.76, p<0.001)]. Moreover, sedentary behaviour was significantly associated with higher depression (r=0.68, p<0.001). Affluence was a significant contributing factor of sedentary behaviour in African young people [t (294)= -7.30, p<0.001]. Moreover, Study 3 examined the impact of physical activity on cognitive functioning in African young people. An experimental design was used with 60 adolescents (27 males, 33 females) aged 13 to 18 years (mean=14.83 years) living in Ghana. Participants physical activity and health were assessed both at baseline and at the end of the intervention. Physical activity levels were measured using the PAQ-A and by pedometer; cognitive functioning was assessed with the Raven s Progressive Matrices test, with additional psychological variables of physical self-worth being measured with a subscale of the Physical Self Perception Profile, and body dissatisfaction using the body image silhouette test. The participants in the experimental group participated in aerobic physical activities, twice a week for 6 weeks. Results from the study showed that participants in the experimental school scored significantly higher on cognitive functioning [F (1,56)=34.77, p<0.001]; and self-esteem than those in the control group. From this current research the new finding seems to be associated with affluent behaviour being a significant contributing factor of sedentary behaviour in African youth, whereas other findings in the Western culture show that the weather is one of the contributing factors for sedentary behaviour in young people.