Sweet Sixteen Gone Sour

Most bad lifestyle habits are in place by the age of 16

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A study finds that by the age of 16, bad habits and lifestyles are at the "point of no return," especially among women.

With women and young adults between 19 and 26 showing poor health and sleeping habits, researchers in the Basque Country of northern Spain have identified patterns in age and gender that predict adult behavior.

A survey of over 2,000 young people (one group between the ages of 13-17, the other 18-26) shows that poor diet, alcoholic intake, lack of physical activity and insufficient sleep are increasingly common in young people and tackling them before the age of 16 is crucial.

Women were found to have increased vulnerability to tobacco, laziness, and sexually transmitted diseases while men are more likely to have problems with alcohol, drugs and eating. The study also points out that preventing even one of the problems could have a domino effect on others; for example, there is a link found between lack of physical activity and consumption of alcohol.

Good habits and better health also mean a better state of mind, as physical well-being directly relates to increased mental wellness and even higher self-esteem. Socio-economic factors also play a role in the adoption of bad habits.

Researchers conducting the study suggest that prevention needs to start in women and young people before the age of 16, which is when routine and habit begin to take hold that individuals carry with them into adulthood.

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Review Date: 
January 3, 2011
Last Updated:
January 4, 2011