Adolescent Health Behaviors and Mental Health

A study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2021) examined the associations among physical activity, dietary behaviors, and other salient health behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and sleeping with self-reported adolescent mental health on the 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YBRS) among 14,765 US adolescents.

Meeting physical activity guidelines, consuming breakfast every day, not smoking and/or consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, and sleeping at least 8 hours per night were independently associated with lower odds of mental health problems.

For every additional positive health behavior met, there were significantly lower odds of reported mental health problems.

The authors concluded that meeting salient positive health behavior criteria and meeting multiple positive health behavior criteria are associated with lower odds of self-reported difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions among US adolescents.

This study supports the need for programs that integrate the targeting of multiple health risks among American adolescents to improve their mental as well as physical wellbeing.

According to this study’s findings, integrated risk behavior programs should address the prevention of alcohol and tobacco use with the promotion of physical activity, eating breakfast and getting 8 or more hours of sleep for all US adolescents.

Read the study abstract: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1559827619860067#

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