These 7 healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent depression, new study finds.



  • Seven healthy lifestyle factors have been identified by researchers as reducing the risk of depression.
  • Getting good quality sleep, regular physical activity, frequent social connection, never smoking and limiting alcohol consumption were among the lifestyle factors identified.
  • Researchers reported that healthy lifestyle factors could be more important than genetic risk factors for depression.

A healthy lifestyle involving physical activity, social connection, good quality sleep, and a healthy diet can lower the risk of depression.

That’s according to a new studyTrusted Source published today in the journal Nature Mental Health.

In it, researchers identified seven lifestyle factors they say reduce the risk of depression.

“Although our DNA – the genetic hand we’ve been dealt – can increase our risk of depression, we’ve shown that a healthy lifestyle is potentially more important,” said Barbara Sahakian, a co-author of the study and a professor in the the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge in England, in a press statement.

“Some of these lifestyle factors are things we have a degree control over, so trying to find ways to improve them – making sure we have a good night’s sleep and getting out to see friends, for example – could make a real difference to people’s lives,” she added.

The researchers listed these seven lifestyle factors as reducing the risk of depression:

  • Having a healthy diet
  • Regular physical activity
  • Never smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to moderate amounts
  • Having frequent social connection
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Keeping sedentary behavior to a minimum

The researchers examined data from almost 290,000 people in the UK Biobank over a nine-year period. Of them, 13,000 experienced depression.

The data included genetic, health, and lifestyle information.

The researchers grouped the participants into three categories based on how many of the identified healthy lifestyle factors a person adhered to. The categories were unfavorable, intermediate, and favorable.

Researchers reported that people in the intermediate group were 41% less likely to develop depression compared with those who were in the unfavorable group. Those is the favorable group were 57% less likely to develop depression.

SOURCE: Medical News Today.

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