Parents should enforce good lifestyle habits even before children turn 13, researchers at University of the Basque Country have said.
Drinking, eating junk food and all other unhealthy life habits that are already being detected in early adolescence and that are especially predominant amongst women and young people between the ages of 19 and 26.
Marta Arrue and colleagues studied 2,018 young people from the CAV-EAE. She collated and analysed habits of life according to sex and age (adolescents from 13 to 17; young persons from 18 to 26).
According to the thesis, the least healthy habits turned out to be eating ones, followed by ingestion of alcohol, sedentarism, risks involving sexual relations, the consumption of tobacco and drugs and, finally, low quality or insufficient sleep.
Arrue concluded that special attention has to be paid to adolescents of 16 years; the age in which either healthy activities are opted for or risk behaviour patterns arise.
She also said that risk factors tend to be associated in a simultaneous manner, although healthy behaviour also.
Apart from the psychological factor, she suggests that cultural and economic factors should be considered, as well as legal.
The results show that adolescents and young people with healthy life habits have higher self-esteem, better psychological wellbeing, greater satisfaction with their bodies and fewer psychopathological indicators.
Thus, the fight against bad lifestyle habits requires a multifactorial and pluridisciplinary approach, and behoves us to detect the problem as early as possible.
The thesis is titled 'Lifestyle habits and psychological factors in adolescence and youth in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CAV-EAE)'.