Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A healthy teenager is a happy teenager

Date:
March 2, 2012
Source:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Summary:
Teenagers who turn their backs on a healthy lifestyle and turn to drink, cigarettes and junk food are significantly unhappier than their healthier peers. New research also shows that 12-13 is a catalyst age when young people turn away from the healthy habits of their younger years and start to get involved in risky behaviors.

Teenagers who choose a healthy lifestyle are happier than those who turn to drink, cigarettes and junk food.
Credit: Yuri Arcurs / Fotolia

Teenagers who turn their backs on a healthy lifestyle and turn to drink, cigarettes and junk food are significantly unhappier than their healthier peers. New research also shows that 12-13 is a catalyst age when young people turn away from the healthy habits of their younger years and start to get involved in risky behaviours.

The research, which used information from Understanding Society, a long-term study of 40,000 UK households funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), looked at the responses of 5,000 young people between the ages of 10-15 to questions about their health-related behaviours and levels of happiness. The results show that:

• Young people who never drank any alcohol were between four and six times more likely to have higher levels of happiness than those who reported any alcohol consumption.

• Youth who smoked were about five times less likely to have high happiness scores compared to those who never smoked.

• Higher consumption of fruit and vegetables and lower consumption of chips, sweets and fizzy drinks were both associated with high happiness.

• The more hours of sport youth participated in per week the happier they were.

Researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex believe the data showed that unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, drinking alcohol and taking no exercise are closely linked to substantially lower happiness scores among teenagers, even when socio-demographic factors such as gender, age, family income and parent's education are taken into account.

Twelve per cent of 13-15 year olds reported that they smoked compared with two per cent of 10-12 year olds. The figures for alcohol consumption were even more striking with eight per cent of 10-12 year olds reporting having had an alcoholic drink in the last month rising to 41 per cent amongst 13-15 year olds.

The research also showed that between the ages of 13 and 15, when young people are given more autonomy over their lifestyle choices, their food consumption becomes less healthy and their participation in exercise reduces.

Only 11 per cent of those aged 13-15 years reported consumption of 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day and even amongst the 10-12 year olds less than a fifth reported eating fruit and vegetables 5 or more times per day.

Dr Cara Booker, one of the co-authors of the research said: "What this research shows us is that young people across the social spectrum are failing to eat healthy balanced diets and are starting to consume alcohol at a young age. This is storing up problems for later life, because we know that there are clear long-term links between health-related behaviours and well-being in adulthood. Helping young people to reduce damaging health choices as they start making independent decisions are important in order to reduce the number of adults at risk from chronic disease because of their low well-being and poor health-related behaviours."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "A healthy teenager is a happy teenager." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302082911.htm>.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2012, March 2). A healthy teenager is a happy teenager. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302082911.htm
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "A healthy teenager is a happy teenager." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120302082911.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bee Fossils Provide Insight Into Ice Age Environment

Bee Fossils Provide Insight Into Ice Age Environment

Newsy (Apr. 12, 2014) Archeologists have found many fossils in the La Brea Tar Pits, including those of saber-tooth tigers and mammoths. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins