Lifestyle Behavior and Mental Health in Early Adolescence

This is a great study published in Pediatrics (2019) that examined associations of meeting established recommendations for diet, physical activity, sleep, and sedentary behavior in childhood with mental illness in adolescence using a population-based prospective study with 3,436 10- to 11-year-olds.

Results showed that compared with meeting 1 to 3 recommendations, meeting 7 to 9 recommendations was associated with 56% fewer physician visits for mental illness during follow-up.

Furthermore, every additional recommendation met was associated with 15% fewer physician visits for mental illnesses.

The researchers concluded that emphasizing lifestyle recommendations may reduce the future burden of mental illness.

We agree with the study’s authors that new prevention strategies are critically needed to reduce mental health problems among youth.

By promoting adolescent wellness behaviors such as physical activity, healthy eating, sleep and others, substance use prevention and mental health professionals are likely to improve both the physical and mental health and well-being of America’s young people.

Evidence-based programs such as SPORT (Alcohol/Drug) Prevention Plus Wellness integrate substance use and chronic disease prevention with wellness behavior promotion for adolescents within a single intervention.

This type of multi-health focused program provides prevention and health specialists with a practical, cost-effective strategy for enhancing broad health outcomes among youth.       

Read the study paper: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/143/5/e20183307

Read more about healthy lifestyle guidelines for youth: https://preventionpluswellness.com/pages/healthy-lifestyle-guidelines-for-youth-and-young-adult-goal-setting

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