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BACKGROUND: Existing literature on the association between the frequency of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) and depression among adolescents is limited and contradictory. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to elucidate the association of MSE frequency with depression symptoms among middle and high school students in China. METHODS: A total of 27,070 students in grades 7-12 from 376 middle and high schools were surveyed using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire between April and June 2022. Information on engaging in MSE was self-reported, and depression symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Poisson regression was used to examine the association between MSE frequency and depression symptoms. RESULTS: Among the 27,006 eligible students, 51.6% (n=13,933) were boys, and the mean age was 15.6 (SD 1.7) years. The overall prevalence of meeting MSE recommendations (ie, engaging in MSE ≥3 days/week) was 34.6% (95% CI 32.6%-36.6%; n=9145); the prevalence was higher in boys (43.8%, 95% CI 41.8%-45.8%; 6067/13,933) than in girls (24.3%, 95% CI 22%-26.6%; 3078/13,073; P

Original publication




Journal article


JMIR Public Health Surveill

Publication Date





adolescents, cross-sectional study, depression symptoms, muscle-strengthening exercise, Adolescent, Male, Female, Humans, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, Muscles, Self Report, Students