Association between Physical Activity and Mental Health among High-School Adolescents in Boushehr Province: A Population Based Study

By Soltanian, Ali Reza; Nabipour, Iraj et al. | Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview
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Association between Physical Activity and Mental Health among High-School Adolescents in Boushehr Province: A Population Based Study


Soltanian, Ali Reza, Nabipour, Iraj, Akhondzadeh, Shahin, Moeini, Babak, Bahreini, Fatemeh, Barati, Majid, Faradmal, Javad, Iranian Journal of Psychiatry


Objective: Mental health is one of the evaluating factors of community indicators, and physical activity is considered an important tool for the importance of public health. Previous studies have demonstrated associations between physical activity and mental health, but these studies did not include those populations in which training children have some traditional and religious aspects.

Methods: Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to compare the prevalence of mental health among those who had inactive, minimally and HEPA activity in a representative sample of adolescents aged 15-19 in South of Iran using data from the Mental Health Survey (n = 2584). The GHQ-28 and IPAQ-short forms were used to evaluate the mental health and physical activity, respectively

Results: A total of 2584 adolescents (1401 male and 1178 female) participated in the study. The observed odds of psychological symptoms in boys compared to girls is 1.2 times (p=0.018). We observed that HEPA-activity decreases odds of somatic distress and social dysfunction compared with inactivity (p=0.031 and 0.001, respectively); minimally activity decreases odds of anxiety compared with inactivity (p=0.038); but physical activity rate was not affected on odds of adolescents' depression (p>0.05).

Conclusion: Physical activity decreases mental health subscales except for depression among adolescents in Boushehr, southern city of Iran.

Keywords: Adolescents, Iran, Mental health, Physical activity

Iran J Psychiatry 2011; 6:112-116

Mental health is one of evaluating factors of community indicators. Adolescence period is a very important and critical stage in human evolution process. Adolescent physiological changes result from sexual maturation and will lead to aggression and mental disorders (1). Physical activity is considered an important tool for the importance of public health (2), and it offers numerous health benefits and can help individuals maintain some

chronic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease(3,4), osteoporosis(5), type 2 diabetes(6) and

hypertension(7). Recently, psychological issues and psychotherapy have also been considered as people especially adolescents suffer from mental disorders more than any other diseases. Also, awareness of depression in childhood and adolescence has increased (8, 9). Although in previous decades it was believed that depression did not occur in adolescents, recent prevalence studies have suggested that 2% to 8% of young people experience their first episode of major depression by age 16 (10-12,1). Also, American surgeon general assembly report in 1999 showed that 74 percent of adolescents suffer from mental disorder (13). Despite the increasing burden of common mental disorders (anxiety and depression) in society, few data are available on the relation between physical activity and mental health (14-20). The aim of this paper is to examine the association between physical activity and mental health using a population-based study among adolescents in a city in south of Iran (Boushehr), with a religious community.

Materials and Method

Mental Health Study

We used data from the Mental Health Study (MHS), a population based study of adolescents in Boushehr Province (South of Iran) in 2005. The MHS was conducted on 2697 high-school students aged 15-19 years. Multi-stage random sampling technique was used in the MHS, where number of students was determined by proportion sampling method based on male and female students in counties and schools, and also by student grade. Data were collected by a questionnaire with four sections. Section one included demographic characteristics (e.g. age, sex, educational level, students' field) and some of socio-economic factors (e.g. parent educations, family income, parent job, visit relatives, hours watching TV); section two included 28-item of General Health Questions (GHQ-28); section three included questions of International Physical Activity Questionnaire; and section four included food consumption pattern questionnaire(21).

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