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Exercise is good…
It’s summertime, and we should all be outdoors and active. We routinely recommend physical activity to our patients, but what is the evidence that it does any good? Coincidentally, three recent reviews have looked at this in specific conditions.
Researchers from Canada looked at all the evidence for any benefit for physical activity (PA) in young people up to age 19 years with depressive symptoms (Korczak D, et al. Pediatrics 2017. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-2266). They found 40 studies that could be included, involving nearly 90 000 individuals, from diverse countries. Activity interventions varied, from self-reported sport participation to Actigraph-measured workouts. Most studies showed a benefit, and their meta-analysis found significant effect sizes, more so in the cross-sectional as against longitudinal studies. Frequency and intensity of exercise both seemed to contribute. Evidence of long-term benefit was less convincing. Those studies using self-reported symptoms rather than formal diagnostic interviews showed a greater effect, suggesting that exercise makes depressed young people feel better even if it …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.