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Physical activity and depressive symptoms among adolescents in a school-based sample from Brazil

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Bruna Velazquez, Sandra Petresco, Rivka Pereira, Claudia Buchweitz, Pedro H. Manfro, Arthur Caye, Helen Fisher, Brandon A Kohrt, Valeria Mondelli, Christian Kieling

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrazilian Journal of Psychiatry
Accepted/In press18 Nov 2021

King's Authors


Objective: To explore associations between self-reported weekly physical activity and depressive symptomatology among adolescents in a school-based sample from Brazil.
Methods: We surveyed 7,405 adolescents aged 14 to 16 years in 101 public schools in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We assessed physical activity using an adapted version of the Patient-Centered Assessment and Counseling for Exercise Plus Nutrition – Adolescent Physical Activity Measure (PACE+), and depressive symptoms using the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Patient Health Questionnaire – Adolescent Version (PHQ-A). We compared the scores of depressive symptoms among adolescents with varying levels of physical activity.
Results: Of the overall sample, 84.4% exercised less than the recommended frequency of 60 minutes/day, at least 5 days/week, of moderate to intense physical activity (PACE+ score > 5). Adolescents whose levels of physical activity fell below that threshold had higher median depression scores (8 [IQR=10] vs. 7 [IQR=9], W=4060461, p<0.001). A similar pattern in terms of depression scores was observed in those with PACE+ <1 (median of 10 [IQR=11]) and the group with PACE+ >1 (7 [IQR=9], W=7457608, p<0.001).
Conclusion: In this large sample of Brazilian adolescents, participants who exercised less frequently and vigorously than their peers reported more depressive symptoms.

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