Physical Activity & Mental Health in Children & Youth

Physical Activity & Mental Health in Children & Youth

A recent review of research concluded that physical activity participation and mental health among children and youth deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic and were closely associated with each other.

The paper was published in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health (2023) and consisted of a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the relationship between physical activity (PA) and mental health (MH) among children and youth during the COVID‐19 pandemic.

Results showed that greater PA participation was strongly related to lower negative psychological responses (i.e., anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, fatigue, and mental health problems) and higher positive psychological responses (i.e., general well-being and vigor) in children and youth during COVID-19. 

We believe the studies in this review further support the growing notion that physical activity is linked to both negative (less PA) and positive (greater PA) mental health among young people.

One key practice implication for prevention and health professionals is to increase the provision of programs and supportive environments for children and youth to engage in all types of physical activity as stand-alone strategies as well as cost-effectively integrating substance use prevention and intervention programs with a physical activity promotion component. 

Read the full study:

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