Alcohol & Impulsiveness
A University of Liverpool study suggests teens with impulsive personality traits are more likely to drink heavily and to develop alcohol abuse issues later in life. The study is significant because identifying at-risk adolescents allows early prevention strategies to be implemented.
A CDC survey found only a little over half of girls aged 13–17 have been given routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that preteen boys and girls get them. HPV symptoms take years to appear, but the virus can lead to female vaginal and vulvar cancer and penile cancer in men.
Tweeting with Your Teens
Being Facebook friends with your teen may strengthen your relationship, say researchers at Brigham Young University, whose recent study showed that kids who interact with their parents on social media feel more connected, are kinder, and are less likely to become aggressive or depressed. Don’t go too far, though, say the study’s authors, suggesting that parents should limit media contact to the occasional positive comment.
Cyberbullying Side Effects
Adolescents who are victims of cyberbullying, internet or "mobile" harassment, are more likely to become depressed, abuse substances, or suffer from Internet addiction, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
According to a study published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, most teenagers are not getting the message that forming heart-healthy habits early on not only reduces the risk of heart disease in adulthood, it may also increase life expectancy. Only 45 percent of male and 50 percent of female teens followed five or more of the heart healthy practices defined by the AHA. The seven factors for cardiovascular health are:
• No smoking
• Heart-healthy diet
• Healthy BMI
• Plenty of physical activity
• Optimal cholesterol levels
• Normal blood pressure
• Blood sugar control
The researchers say that following the heart-healthy behaviors could prevent nearly 80 percent of heart disease-related events.
Keep Talk "Healthy"
Want to help your teen get healthy? Avoid talking about weight loss or being thin with them. An article in JAMA Pediatrics suggests teenagers respond more favorably to discussions on healthful eating habits.
'OK2TALK' About Mental Illness
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has launched a public service ad campaign for teens and young adults struggling with mental illness. ok2talk.org is an online community where young people can talk about their experiences and discover resources. The incidence of mental illness in children has increased over the past decade, and a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals an estimated 20 percent of US adolescents now have a diagnosable mental disorder. NAB hopes the campaign will increase awareness and eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
Smoking Ad Influence
Tobacco ads really do increase the risk of teen smoking, according to a recent German study. Researchers monitored public school students over a 2.5–year period and found that students who were exposed to 10 tobacco ads were 38 percent more likely to become established smokers. Although peer smoking was even more influential, study data does confirm the effectiveness of tobacco advertising.