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Teen Study: Lifestyle Factors Increase Psychiatric Risks

Teen Study: Lifestyle Factors Increase Psychiatric Risks

It is no secret that teens simply love their technology  and seem to love late nights, but it does have a possible dark side. A new study has identified a profile of lifestyle factors that may be raising psychiatric risks for teens.

According to researchers at the Karolinska Institutet, teens that have all 3 of these characteristics are at a higher risk of psychiatric conditions:  low amounts of sleep, low exercise levels, and high media usage (video games, TV, internet for recreational use). This group of teens makes up what is being identified as the “invisible risk” group.

The study involved 12,000 teens from 11 different European countries. The participants were grouped by 9 different risk factors: illegal drug use, excessive alcohol use, reduced sleep, heavy smoking, overweight, underweight, activity level, high media use and truancy.

It wasn’t too surprising that the teens in the higher risk group had high scores for all of the risk factors, which included 13.2% of the participants. The low-risk group accounted for 57.8 % of the participants and scored low for most of the risk factors. The shocking part of the study was the teens in the “invisible risk” group, included 29% of the teens; nearly a third of those examined.

Psychiatric symptoms, including hyperactivity, peer problems, depression and suicide attempts, were assessed in each group. The teens in the high risk group and a high number of teens in the “invisible risk” group experienced more symptoms, compared to the teens in the low risk group.

The behaviors of teens in the “invisible risk” group are cause for concern, and we shouldn’t ignore it. Make sure your teen gets the proper amount of sleep and reasonable amount of exercise for better overall health.

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