Mental Health News – A new study by the University of Montreal discovered that young boys engaged in sports activities in early childhood are less likely to experience emotional distress in middle childhood.
The researchers monitored the sporting activity habits of 690 boys and 748 girls at age 5 and their weekly physical activity level at age 12, reported by their parents. Additionally, their teachers reported emotional distress symptoms they observed in these kids from ages 6 to 10. The researchers stratified the collected data by gender to better identify any significant link between sports activity and mental health.
“There’s widespread evidence of a crisis these days in childhood physical inactivity, and this may ultimately have implications for later mental and physical health,” said Marie-Josée Harbec, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
The study found that boys aged 5 who never participated in sports tend to be more unhappy and tired between the ages of 6 and 10. According to the findings, those boys were more likely to cry frequently, appear fearful or worried, and experience difficulty in having fun.
“Also, boys who exhibited higher levels of depressive and anxious symptoms during middle childhood were subsequently less physically active at 12 years old. For girls, on the other hand, we did not find any significant changes,” said Linda Pagani, senior author of the study.
Physical activities during preschool benefit young boys in developing important life skills, while boys who suffer from depression and anxiety have lower energy and feeling of competence, the researchers explained. Harbec later cautioned that it requires early identification and helpful interventions for girls as they tend to experience more emotional distress than boys.
To Know More You May Refer To:
Harbec, M., Goldfield, G., Barnett, T. A., & Pagani, L. S. (2021). Physical activity as both predictor and outcome of emotional distress trajectories in middle childhood. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Publish Ahead of Print. https://doi.org/10.1097/dbp.0000000000001005