Lifestyle Risk Factors Among Adolescents

Lifestyle Risk Factors Among Adolescents

Early prevention strategies targeting clusters of lifestyle risk factors should be prioritized to help mitigate future burden of non-communicable diseases globally, according to a study published in Preventive Medicine (2020).

The precursors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are often manifested during childhood and adolescence with little knowledge about co-occurrence of their related lifestyle risk factors.

To address this deficit, this study estimated the prevalence and clustering of six major NCD-risk factors in adolescents around the world. Data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey, collected between 2007 and 2016, were analyzed in 304,779 adolescents aged 11–17 years (52.2% females) from 89 countries. 

Overall, 82.4% of adolescents had ≥2 risk factors, while 34.9% had ≥3. Adolescents aged 16–17 years, compared to those aged 11–13 years, had higher odds of reporting ≥3 risk factors.

The co-occurrence of cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, physical inactivity, and low fruit and vegetable intake was 165% greater in females and 110% greater in males than expected.

Globally, adolescents exhibit multiple modifiable risk factors for future development of NCDs.

These international findings indicate that adolescents are likely to experience multiple health risk factors and that substance use (alcohol and cigarette smoking) clusters with physical inactivity and poor nutrition (lack of fruit and vegetable consumption).

Together, these results suggest that multiple behavior health interventions are needed that target substance use prevention and the promotion of physical activity and healthy eating among adolescents across the world.

Read the expanded abstract:
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