Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Educational Intervention on Health Related Lifestyle Changes among Iranian Adolescents

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Educational Intervention on Health Related Lifestyle Changes among Iranian Adolescents

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: Healthy lifestyle habits during adolescence can prevent many of the diseases and disabilities in adulthood and later. The aim of the study was to examine the role of education in improving lifestyles among Iranian adolescents.

Methods: This group randomized controlled trial was conducted during October 2010 until January 2011 in Tehran. Participants for this study were selected through a random sampling method and divided into intervention and control groups. The intervention group received a six session course on healthy lifestyles and the control group received no intervention. The Adolescent Lifestyle Questionnaire (ALQ) was used for collecting data. Data were collected before the intervention, at a two week after participation time point, and a three month follow-up was conducted.

Results: Overall, 365 (male: 173, female: 192) adolescents participated in the study. There were significant differences between boys and girls in terms of physical activity and social support (P<0.001). The boys had higher levels of physical activity than girls. Girls received more social support than boys. There were significant differences in the lifestyle scores between the intervention and control groups at follow-up (P<0.001). The educational intervention indicated an improved total lifestyle score (from 123.7(SD.16.1) at baseline to 131.8 (SD.16.7) at two weeks and to 130.5(16.5) at 3 months after education) among the intervention group.

Conclusions: Adolescents` behaviors may be different in some dimensions among boys and girls. Unhealthy lifestyle habits are prevalent among adolescents. Therefore sex-specified lifestyle education can bring promising results. Further research in the field can reveal the importance of lifestyle intervention programs.

Keywords: Lifestyle, Adolescent, Health education, Iran

Introduction

Lifestyle is the nature in which a person or group of people live, including where they live, what they own, type of employment, and activities they enjoy. Onès lifestyle can be healthy or unhealthy based on nutrition, physical activity levels, and overall personal behaviors. A positive lifestyle can bring health and happiness, while a negative life-style can lead to illness and depression (1, 2).

A lifestyle has different components which in-cludes: nutrition, physical participation, safety and health awareness, and these components contri-bute to an individual`s health (3). For example a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity has been associated with numerous health benefits including a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and associated health risks, cancer, arthritis, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and cognitive impairment (4, 5).

Health risk behaviors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy dietary patterns, sedentary habits, and unsafe and aggressive behaviors have been found to have an important influence on morbidity and mortality (6-8). Health risk behaviors, which develop over time, can also contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle (9, 10).

An essential component in the prevention and management of diseases is the adoption of a healthy lifestyle that would include the promotion of non-smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet, and actively engaging in organized physical activities (11, 12).

Childhood and adolescence are critical periods for developing and forming healthy lifestyle habits and behaviors that can last a lifetime (3, 4, 9). However an unhealthy lifestyle is still a concern among adolescent populations. Some studies reported that more than 30% of the high school students watched TV and played video or computer games or used a computer ≥3 h/day on an average school day (13, 14). Also other studies have shown that more than 60% of students did not meet recommended levels of physical activity and engaged in sedentary behaviors (15, 16). These lifestyle behaviors may contribute to the prevalence of obesity and other chronic diseases in adulthood (17). …

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