Thursday, 8 March 2012

A healthy teenager is a happy teenager

12-13 is the so called catalyst age, which is the root of a tree where a child can turn into many different things, here's how health affects it.

Teenagers who shun drink, cigarettes, drugs and gambling behaviour are likely to be significantly happier than their friends.

A recent study shows that 12-14 is the age range where a teenager chooses to be good, bad or to switch between the two. 

It's this benchmark where small influences can scale into something nasty and out of proportion.

When they turn to the dark side they often engage in risky behaviour and the use of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol regularly. The extreme being anti social behaviour, and hard drug use.

The research group surveyed over 40,000 households about their children about health related questions and general happiness.

They showed that..
  • Young people who have never had a drop of alcohol were almost 6x likely to be happier than drinkers.
  • Non-smokers were 5x more likely to have a higher happy score than smokers
  • Having your 5 a day made you a lot more likely to be happier than your peers
  • The more music and/or sport participation made you more likely to be happier than others.
A few stats

  • 2% of 10-12 year olds admitted they are smokers
  • 12% of 13-15 year olds admitted they smoke regularly
  • 21% of 16-19 year olds admitted they are smokers
Alcohol consumption
  • 8% of 10-12 year olds are regular drinkers
  • 41% of 13-15 year olds have a drink regularly
Most of these statistics are surprising, when I was 10 I was lucky if my mum let me have a can of coke! Smoking is socially associated with 'being cool' and younger people tend to strive by any means to have that.

There are many different variables to happiness though, and it's not all down to health. Things like personalities, friends, media influence and many other factors also affect the happiness of a teenager, or anyone.

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