Decreases in exercise associated with higher levels of depression during a pandemic

HealthDay News – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption to physical activity, sleep, time spent and mental health in young adults, according to a study published March 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Osea Giuntella, Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues linked biometric and survey data from multiple cohorts of college students before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (682 students) to assess lifestyle and mental health changes.

The researchers found that at the beginning of the pandemic, average steps decreased from 10,000 to 4,600 steps per day, sleep increased by 25 to 30 minutes per night, and the time spent socializing by more than half to less decreased than 30 minutes and screen time more than doubled to more than five hours per day. From March to July 2020, the proportion of participants at risk for clinical depression was between 46 and 61 percent, representing a 90 percent increase in depression rates over the same population immediately before the pandemic.

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“Before the pandemic, there wasn’t a very strong association between changes in physical activity and mental health, but our analysis suggests that physical activity disruption during this period is a major risk factor for depression,” the study authors said in a statement .

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COVID19 Depression Diet and Exercise Lifestyle Neurobehavioral Disorders

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