The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Sedentary Lifestyle Linked to Teen Emotional and Behavioral Problems

A study of physical activity in more than 7,000 teenagers found that inactivity is associated with emotional and behavioral problems.

Teens with less than one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week had more symptoms of anxiety, withdrawal, depression, sleep problems, rule-breaking behaviors, attention problems, and somatic complaints (body pain).

Study author Marko T. Kantomaa stated in an American College of Sports Medicine news release, "Negative mental and emotional effects brought on by physical inactivity does not help young people ease into adulthood. Physical activity could be a highly effective and relatively easy way to help that transition and could, in addition, lead to establishment of lifelong healthy habits."

The study was published in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise - Kantomaa MT, Tammelin TH, Ebeling HE, Taanila AM. Emotional and behavioral problems in relation to physical activity in youth. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Oct;40(10):1749-56.

Increase in physical activity is known to reduce incidence of depression and anxiety in both adolescents and adults.

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Depressed teen photo by katherine of chicago
Soccerbalance photo by Stallenuk
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.