The relation of physical activity and exercise to mental health.
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The effect of physical conditioning and exertion on the performance of a simple mental task. Physical activity and mental health questions from the modified Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Physical Activity Frequency of moderate and vigorous PAs, strength and toning, participation in PE, and participation on sports teams were reported.
The variable "total PA sessions" was created to differentiate students who are active in some form on at least 6 days of the week vs students who are not. This variable combined moderate, vigorous, and strength and toning activity sessions for 1 week and was then grouped into "0 to 5 sessions" and "6 to 21 sessions.
Mental Health Responses to the feelings of sadness and suicidal thoughts about considering or planning suicide were answered yes or no.
Because few students answered with multiple suicide attempts, subjects were divided into "ever attempted" and "never attempted.
Two-tailed t tests were used to determine variation in the means of continuous variables. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relation between each PA variable and risk of feelings of sadness, considering suicide, planning suicide, or attempting suicide.
Models were adjusted for confounding factors including age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, school, classroom, smoking, drinking, and grades in school. The variables smoking, drinking, and grades in school were included in the regression models because previous studies have shown correlations with PA, feelings of sadness, and depression. Results Descriptive statistics Students' ages ranged from 14 to 18 years mean, The frequency of vigorous PA among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic boys and girls was not different.
Otherwise, there were no other racial differences among girls or boys for these characteristics. There was no difference between sexes for attempting suicide. As shown in Table 3students who participated in 3 to 5 days per week of PE were less likely to feel sad than those participating in PE 0 to 2 days per week, after controlling for sex, ethnicity, age, school, classroom, body mass index, smoking, drinking, and grades in school odds ratio [OR], 0.
Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood
Students engaging in more moderate PA, strength and toning activity, and total PA and who were on at least 1 sports team had a lower risk of sadness, although this was not statistically significant. There was no association between vigorous PA and sadness. Participation in PE 3 to 5 days per week and playing on at least 1 sports team in the past year was associated with a lower risk of considering suicide ORs, 0. Higher levels of moderate, vigorous, and strength and toning activity were also associated with a nonsignificant, lower risk of considering suicide.
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Students were significantly less likely to plan suicide if they engaged in the highest level of vigorous PA OR, 0. Likewise, greater participation in PE and playing on at least 1 sports team in the past year were each associated with a lower, albeit nonsignificant, risk of planning suicide.
There was no association found between any of the PA measures and attempting suicide data not shown. Comment Physical activity behaviors were inversely associated with feelings of sadness and considering and planning suicide among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white students attending high school in Nueces County.
High school students attending more PE sessions per week were less likely to report feelings of sadness. Participation in a greater number of total PA sessions was significantly associated with a lower risk of considering suicide, and higher levels of vigorous PA, strength and toning activity, and total PA were all associated with a decreased risk of planning suicide. Much evidence supports an inverse association between PA and mental health behaviors in adults and adolescents, including greater self-esteem and psychological well-being.
However, Unger 25 reported an inverse association between participation in PA, along with sports team participation, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 9th through 12th grade boys but not girls. The study revealed that girls who exercised 6 to 7 days per week and did not participate in team sports were at the greatest risk of suicidal behaviors, while girls who participated in team sports in addition to exercising most frequently were also at a higher risk of reporting suicidal behaviors.
The author of this study suggested that these results may be owing to a widespread perception of overweight and negative body image among adolescent girls who then exercise excessively to lose weight.
Girls with this perception may then have poor self-esteem that may lead to depression or suicidal behaviors. Brown and Blanton 17 also showed that college-aged women who were vigorously and moderately active were more likely to report suicidal behaviors than women who were not active. The reason for the lack of association between PA and attempted suicide in the current study is unclear.
It is possible that the ethnic distribution of this study population may be a factor, because PA and suicide attempts may not have the same meaning in Hispanic girls or boys as they do in non-Hispanic white girls or boys or in populations with different ethnic distributions; the lack of ethnic differences in the mental health associations in this study may have resulted from the small number of non-Hispanic white students. National survey data show lower rates of depression and suicide in Mexican Americans than in non-Hispanic white adults.
This is of particular public health interest given that many schools are currently cutting back on PE funding, and many schools do not require PE after the 8th grade. To date, no other studies have been published that show an association between PE and feelings of sadness and suicidal behaviors, especially among Hispanic adolescents.
The results of this study suggest that PE may be beneficial in decreasing the risk of sadness and suicidal behaviors among 9th and 10th grade students. Conversely, adolescents with fewer mental health problems may be more likely to seek out and engage in various forms of PA.