Modifiable Lifestyle Behaviors and Adolescent Mental Disorders

Modifiable Lifestyle Behaviors and Adolescent Mental Disorders

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:

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