Early morning physical activity is associated with healthier white matter microstructure and happier children: the ActiveBrains project
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AuthorEsteban Cornejo, Irene; Lara Jimenez, Inmaculada; Verdejo Román, Juan; Erickson, Kirk I.; Ortega Porcel, Francisco Bartolomé
NeurodevelopmentPsychological healthWhite matter integrityPhysical ActivityDietSleepChildhoodObesity
Esteban-Cornejo, I., Lara-Jimenez, I., Rodriguez-Ayllon, M. et al. Early morning physical activity is associated with healthier white matter microstructure and happier children: the ActiveBrains project. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2023).[https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-023-02197-6]
SponsorshipUniversidad de Granada/CBUA; Spanish Government DEP2013-47540 BES-2014-068829 DEP2016-79512-R PSI2012-3929; Alicia Koplowitz Foundation; Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain (MICINN) Spanish Government RYC-2011-09011 RYC2019-027287-I; University of Granada; Junta de Andalucia, Consejeria de Conocimiento, Investigacion y Universidades and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) SOMM17/6107/UGR; EXERNET Research Network on Exercise and Health in Special Populations DEP2005-00046/ACTI; SAMID III network; RETICS PN I + D + I 2017-2021; ISCIII-Sub -Directorate General for Research Assessment and Promotion; European Commission SOMM17/6107/UGR RD16/0022; Universidad de Granada/CBUA
The background of this study is to examine the associations of individual and combined early morning patterns (i.e., active commuting to school, physical activity before school, having breakfast and good sleep) with white matter microstructure (WMM) and, whether the associated white mater microstructure outcomes were related to mental health outcomes in children with overweight or obesity. 103 children with overweight or obesity (10.0 ± 1.1 years old, 42 girls) from the ActiveBrains project participated in this cross-sectional study. Early morning patterns and mental health indicators (i.e., self-esteem, optimism, positive and negative affect, stress, depression and anxiety) were self-reported by the children using validated questionnaires. WMM was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging using diffusion tensor imaging. When examined independently, early morning patterns were not related with WMM (all P > 0.05). However, the combination of early morning patterns was related with WMM (P < 0.05). Specifically, physically active early morning patterns (i.e., active commuting to school and physical activity before school) were associated with global fractional anisotropy (FA) (β = 0.298, P = 0.013) and global radial diffusivity (RD) (β = − 0.272, P = 0.021), as well as with tract-specific FA (β = 0.314, P = 0.004) and RD (β = − 0.234, P = 0.032) in the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). Furthermore, combined physically active early morning pattern-associated global (i.e., FA and RD) and tract-specific (i.e., FA and RD in the SLF) WMM indicators were positively associated with happiness (β absolute value range from 0.252 to 0.298, all P < 0.05). A combination of physically active early morning patterns may positively relate to white matter microstructure in children with overweight or obesity, and, in turn, happiness.