..Higher depression scores at 18 years were associated with a 60 min/day increase in sedentary behaviour at 12 years (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1·111 [95% CI 1·051–1·176]), 14 years (1·080 [1·012–1·152]), and 16 years of age (1·107 [1·015–1·208]). Depression scores at 18 years were lower for every additional 60 min/day of light activity at 12 years (0·904 [0·850–0·961]), 14 years (0·922 [0·857–0·992]), and 16 years of age (0·889 [0·809–0·974]). Group-based trajectory modelling across 12–16 years of age identified three latent subgroups of sedentary behaviour and activity levels.
Depression scores were higher in those with persistently high (IRR 1·282 [95% CI 1·061–1·548]) and persistently average (1·249 [1·078–1·446]) sedentary behaviour compared with those with persistently low sedentary behaviour, and were lower in those with persistently high levels of light activity (0·804 [0·652–0·990]) compared with those with persistently low levels of light activity. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (per 15 min/day increase) at age 12 years (0·910 [0·857–0·966]) and total physical activity (per 100 CPM increase) at ages 12 years (0·941 [0·910–0·972]) and 14 years (0·965 [0·932–0·999]), were negatively associated with depressive symptoms.
Sedentary behaviour displaces light activity throughout adolescence, and is associated with a greater risk of depressive symptoms at 18 years of age. Increasing light activity and decreasing sedentary behaviour during adolescence could be an important target for public health interventions aimed at reducing the prevalence of depression.