Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Alexandra Parker, Professor of Physical Activity and Mental Health, Victoria University

Adolescence is a critical time for the development of mental health problems. In fact, depression is most likely to occur during adolescence and young adulthood. It’s the leading cause of disability in young people worldwide.

At least one‐quarter of young people will experience an episode of depression before 19 years of age. By year 9, students who have experienced a mental disorder are on average two years behind in academic achievement compared to those without a mental disorder.

The consequences of depression in adolescence are serious and can be lifelong. These include an increased risk of depression late in life, poor social functioning and academic achievement and reduced employment security, as well as greater risk of suicide and self‐harm.

Read more: What can parents do about their teenagers' mental health?

Many young people don’t recover from depression, despite treatment with the best available evidence‐based treatment approaches. Given the scope and impact of depression in young people, and poor recovery rates, it’s crucial to understand how to help prevent the development of depression in young people.

An increasing body of evidence indicates physical activity and exercise are effective for improving mood. We recently also examined studies to assess the efficacy of physical activity and exercise as a prevention for depression in young people. We found eight controlled research studies that examined this. These studies showed exercise and physical activity are effective as a depression-prevention approach for young people.

How much physical activity do young people need to do?

Few young people seek professional help for mental health concerns. It’s important to engage young people in places that suit them to prevent the onset of mental health problems. Prevention and early intervention are crucial and especially relevant in the education setting.

How physical activity in Australian schools can help prevent depression in young people Many young people never recover from depression once it is established. from www.shutterstock.com

The Australian guidelines state young people should engage in 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The majority of young people don’t reach this target.

In fact, disengagement from regular exercise, physical activity and sporting clubs steadily increases during adolescence. This coincides with the average age of onset of depression.

Physical activity is an important part of the Australian Curriculum. The Australian national policy requires government schools to provide at least two hours of physical activity per week during primary education and junior secondary education. The provision of any physical education is not required as part of the senior secondary curriculum. Even during primary education and junior secondary education, the mandated 120 minutes a week doesn’t meet Australian guidelines.

Schools are a key site for the promotion of healthy behaviours. Many long-term health-related behaviours and patterns – both positive and negative – are established during the developmental phase of adolescence and early adulthood.

How do we get them to do more?

The research indicates physical activity is associated with reduced risk of depression in young people. Physical activity is an acceptable, non-stigmatising approach to promoting better mental health in young people. To meet the specific needs of young people, a physical activity program should facilitate self-reliance, motivation, and mental health and wellbeing literacy.

How physical activity in Australian schools can help prevent depression in young people Depression is the leading cause of disability for young people across the globe. from www.shutterstock.com

Motivation to engage in physical activity can be increased by offering choice of activities, increasing skills and ability to engage in physical activity, and opportunities for social connection. Schools are best placed to ensure physical activity is increased and protected within the Australian curriculum and that young people meet the Australian guidelines for physical activity each day.

Most school-based intervention studies of physical activity have used supervised programs of moderate to vigorous physical activity. These consist of 30 to 45 minutes, three to five days per week. The physical activity should include a variety of activities, be age-appropriate and enjoyable.

Some researchers suggest schools could also promote physical activity outside physical education classes by ensuring at least 20 minutes of recess per day.

Finally, physical educators can be key drivers of physical and health literacy and behaviour change. They can do this, for example, through school-based activities and by providing information about the benefits of physical activity via newsletters and notices sent home.

Read more: Yes, your kids can run all day – they’ve got muscles like endurance athletes

Physical activity programs within schools should also address the health, mental health and stress-reduction motivations for engaging in physical activity and focus on the benefits of participation. This should include a focus on fun and enjoyment, while building confidence and independence.

Any physical activity program delivered in schools should also encourage young people to draw on parental and social support to increase the physical activity they do outside school time.

Authors: Alexandra Parker, Professor of Physical Activity and Mental Health, Victoria University

Read more http://theconversation.com/how-physical-activity-in-australian-schools-can-help-prevent-depression-in-young-people-107889

5 Tips On How To Operate A Forklift Safely

arrow_forward

China is taking a risk by getting tough on Hong Kong. Now, the US must decide how to respond

arrow_forward

Performers and sole traders find it hard to get JobKeeper in part because they get behind on their paperwork

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

$1.8 billion boost for local government

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government will deliver a $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia.   The package of support will help lo...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison press conference

PRIME MINISTER: This is a tough day for Australia, a very tough day. Almost 600,000 jobs have been lost, every one of them devastating for those Australians, for their families, for their commun...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

BOOST FOR BUSHFIRE RECOVERY

Local economic recovery plans will help towns and regions hit by bushfires get back on their feet as part of a new $650 million package of support from the Morrison Government.   As part of th...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

How have live chatbots turned beneficial for online businesses?

Every business these days have come up with their online models. While some people still rely on the customer service representatives to handle the queries for their company around the clock through...

Paresh Patil - avatar Paresh Patil

Which Internet Marketing techniques can boost my business?

Internet marketing can be easily defined as various internet techniques that can be used to promote a product or service to all those people who use the internet to visit various websites and social p...

Kamballa Johnson - avatar Kamballa Johnson

3 Top Tips to Hiring Long Distance Movers

Moving doesn’t need to be stressful at all. Find the right moving company to help with your relocation and the whole experience should be what you want out of the move in the first place – a new sta...

Ash Thomson - avatar Ash Thomson



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion