Making even modest positive changes to lifestyle behaviors that increase overall adherence to lifestyle recommendations can improve mental health in adolescents, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (2023).
School-based survey responses were collected from 24,274 Canadian high school students at baseline and 1-year follow-up (average age 14.8 and 15.8 years, respectively).
Adherence to recommendations was low overall, particularly for vegetables and fruit (3.9%), grains (4.5%), and screen time (4.9%).
Students adhering to individual recommendations, particularly for meat and alternatives, sugar sweetened beverages, screen time, sleep, and no cannabis use, at baseline had lower depression and anxiety symptoms at follow-up.
Adhering to every additional recommendation was associated with lower depression and anxiety at follow-up.
The authors concluded that the results highlight the preventive potential of population-based approaches promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Mental health and prevention professionals should broaden future interventions to target multiple lifestyle behaviors which would likely have a significant impact on improving the mental health of young people.
Read the entire study: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-023-01436-y