Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors and Mental Health Indicators among Adolescents

Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors and Mental Health Indicators among Adolescents

A study published in BMC Public Health (2020) examined healthy lifestyle behaviors in relation to mental health and symptoms of mental health problems among 1037 12-18-year-old adolescents.

Healthy behaviors included sufficient sleep, physical activity, eating daily breakfast and low levels of alcohol or cigarette use, while mental health symptoms included feelings of depression, anxiety, stress and self-esteem.

The results showed that all healthy lifestyle behaviors were associated with at least one mental health outcome except alcohol consumption.

Lower sleep duration and daily breakfast intake were significantly associated with lower mental health on all studied indicators.

The authors concluded that the findings support the value of integrating healthy lifestyle behaviors in interventions for mental health promotion.

Evidence-based programs that integrate multiple health behaviors for youth and young adults currently exist.

For example, the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program targets the prevention of alcohol and drug use along with the promotion of physical activity, healthy eating and breakfast, sleep and stress control for youth ages 8-18 years old.

Using existing evidence-based multiple-behavior programs can save prevention and health providers time while increasing the likelihood of achieving both mental and physical health outcomes for young people.

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