A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that sedentary behavior is associated with an increased risk of depression. People who sit for prolonged periods are at 25% greater risk for depression.
The meta-analysis is the first study to evaluate all of the literature on depression and sedentary behavior. A group of Chinese researchers evaluated 17,626 potentially relevant articles and found among them 20 high-quality studies that examined links between sitting and depression. Their analysis of the data in these studies reveals that the 193,166 participants included in the studies were more likely to be diagnosed with depression than their more active peers – regardless of the type of sedentary behavior (desk work, TV watching, etc.) and regardless of their geographic location (studies from Australia, the Americas, Europe, and Asia were all represented in the analysis).
The paper recommends that “reducing sedentary behaviour should be advocated for the primary prevention of depression.” The authors also point out that causality could work the other way – that depressed people are more likely to be sedentary – and that further study is needed to consider this possibility. Regardless, a sure antidote for either condition is more movement and exercise. In other words, sit less.
Source: Zhai, Long, Yi Zhang, and Dongfeng Zhang. “Sedentary Behaviour and the Risk of Depression: A Meta-Analysis.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, September 2, 2014, bjsports – 2014–093613. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-093613.