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Table 1 Summary of meta-analyses included in the current study

From: Exercise interventions for the prevention of depression: a systematic review of meta-analyses

Meta-analyses Target population Setting Exercise intervention (mode, frequency, duration) Control comparison Depression outcome
Brown et al. 2013 [19] Children and adolescents between 5–19 years Most included studies targeted at-risk (clinically overweight young people or criminally institutionalized youth offenders) groups for depression. Aerobics, fitness, yoga; 3–7 times/week; 12–28 weeks Non-physical control group Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Carter et al. 2016 [25] Adolescents between 13–17 years Included studies targeted high school students from the general population. Dance, yoga, other sports; 1–4 times/week; 9–40 weeks Continued regular exercise or no exercise control group Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Conn 2010 [18] Adults ≥18 years Included studies targeted healthy adults without acute or chronic physical or mental illness. Studies targeting subjects with clinical depression or subjects that scored above a primary study specified depressive symptom criterion score were excluded. Supervised and unsupervised exercise; mean of 3 times/week; 1 day – 1 year Any control Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Forsman et al. 2011 [20] Elderly people ≥65 years Included studies targeted the general older adult population, older adults at risk for depression, or those who already suffer from subclinical symptoms of depression but did not fulfill the diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder. All types of exercise. No details provided. Care as usual, waiting list, or no-intervention control Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Gordon et al. 2018 [26] No criteria reported Healthy population with no physical or mental illness Resistance exercise training; 2–7 times/week; 6–52 weeks No treatment, wait list, usual care, or patient education Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Larun et al. 2006 [27] Children and adolescents ≤20 years Included studies targeting general child/adolescent populations within all kinds of settings. Trials involving psychotic or borderline conditions, autism, physical handicap, eating disorders or chronic somatic diseases were excluded. Running, aerobics, resistance training, fitness; 3 times/week; 6–40 weeks Waiting list, non-intervention group, a low intensity exercise group or a psychosocial intervention group Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Park et al. 2014 [28] Elderly people ≥65y Included studies targeted elderly people who did not have disorders of orientation and who were capable of independent living. Aerobics, walking, balance exercise, resistance training, Qigong, Tai chi; 1–3 times/week; 4 weeks – 1 year No treatment/placebo or any other type of non-exercising intervention Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
Rethorst et al. 2009 [17] No criteria reported Non-specified general population. Aerobic or resistance training, or combined; 3–5 times/week; 4 weeks – 1 year No-treatment or wait-list control Depressive symptoms measured by several depression rating scales
  1. RCTs randomized controlled trials, Exercise physical activity