Adolescents who live the good life – eating a healthy diet and exercising, while avoiding alcohol, tobacco and junk food -- are significantly happier.
That’s the key finding of a new survey of the healthy – and unhealthy -- habits of British teens, and the impact they can have on their happiness.
The research was based on information from Understanding Society -- a long-term study of 40,000 U.K. households funded by the Economic and Social Research Council – gathered in surveys of 5,000 young people between the ages of 10-15 years.
Youngers were asked questions about their health-related behaviors and levels of happiness. The results show that:
• Young people who never drank alcohol were four to six times more likely to have higher levels of happiness than those who reported any alcohol consumption.
• Smokers 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 chips, sweets and carbonated drinks were both associated with high happiness.
• The more hours of exercise they participated in per week the happier they were.
• The age of 12-13 is typically when young people turn away from the healthy habits of their younger years and start to get involved in risky behaviors.