Teens junking healthy lifestyle kiss happiness away

London: Teenagers junking a healthy lifestyle for drinks, cigarettes and fast food become morose versions of their healthier, happier cousins and also get involved in risky behaviour.

The research, based on a long-term study of 40,000 British households, looked at the responses of 5,000 people aged between 10 and 15 years, about their health-related behaviours and levels of happiness.

Researchers from the Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, believe the data showed a linkage between smoking, drinking alcohol and taking no exercise with substantially lower happiness scores among teenagers, according to an Essex statement.

Booker, study co-author from Essex, said: "What this research shows us is that young people across the social spectrum are failing to eat healthy balanced diets and are starting to consume alcohol at a young age.

"This is storing up problems for later life, because we know that there are clear long-term links between health-related behaviours and well-being in adulthood," Booker added.

The results show that young people who never drank any alcohol were between four and six times more likely to have higher levels of happiness than those who reported any alcohol consumption.

Youth who smoked were about five times less likely to have high happiness scores compared to those who never smoked. Higher consumption of fruit and vegetables and lower consumption of crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks were both tied with high happiness. The more hours of sport youth participated in per week the happier they were.

Surprisingly, only 11 percent of those aged 13-15 between years reported consumption of five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily and even amongst the 10-12-year olds less than a fifth reported eating fruit and vegetables five or more times per day.


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