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Depression could a sign of a poor lifestyle

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Depression isn’t all in the mind—it can also be a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Cutting back on the booze, eating healthily and taking regular exercise can all reduce the risk of depression, as can an active social life and getting a good night’s sleep.

The most important way to avoid depression is sleeping well, which alone reduces the risk by 22 percent, say researchers from Cambridge University.

They examined data collected from around 290,000 people, of whom 13,000 were suffering from depression. After a nine-year follow-up, the researchers isolated seven lifestyle factors that influenced the chances of developing depression: moderate drinking; eating a healthy diet; taking regular exercise; sleeping well, defined as sleeping between seven and nine hours every night; not smoking; not sitting around too much; and having an active social life.

After sleep, an active social life was the next most important factor, reducing the risk of depression by 18 percent.

Genetics also had a part to play in depression, but a healthy lifestyle reduced the risk even in those whose DNA suggested they were the most susceptible.

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References
Nature Mental Health, 2023; doi: 10.1038/s44220-023-00120-1
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