Depression among teenagers suspected to be an inevitable part of growing up could be largely self-inflicted, according to the results of a new study. Research suggests that what seems to be a hedonistic lifestyle of eating garbage, drinking too much, smoking cigarettes and thwarting healthy living in general leads some teens to feel entirely less happy and content than their health-conscious counterparts.
The study was carried out by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, looking into around 40,000 families and the general wellbeing of 5,000 youngsters aged 10 to 15 years. As far as the team was concerned, clear links were visible between lower overall happiness and the lifestyle choices made by the teens studied – specifically lack of exercise and alcohol and/or tobacco use.
In addition, those living the less-healthy lifestyles were also found to be significantly likely to demonstrate risky behavior.
“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,” wrote the study’s authors.
“This is storing up problems for later life, because we know that there are clear long-term links between health-related behaviors and well-being in adulthood.”
According to the data gathered, teens and youngsters that do not drink alcohol at all are four to six-times more likely to be happier than their alcohol-drinking counterparts. Likewise, those that didn’t smoke any tobacco whatsoever were found to be an average five timed more likely to be happier than young smokers.
And it isn’t confined only to drug use either – the study also showed how candy, potato chips, sodas and other unhealthy foods and drinks were linked to lower levels of overall happiness.