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It’s Not What it Looks Like! Today’s Teenagers Growing up Slowly

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Teenagers are growing up slowly
Teenagers are growing up slowly. Pixabay
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New York, Sep 19, 2017: Contrary to popular perception, today’s teenagers are actually growing up more slowly than their predecessors, with 18-year-olds now behaving like 15-year-olds of yesteryears, suggests new research.

The findings published in the journal Child Development suggest that today’s teenagers are taking longer to engage in adult activities such as drinking alcohol, working, driving, or having sex.

“The developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed, with teenagers growing up more slowly than they used to,” explained Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in the US and lead author of the study.
“In terms of adult activities, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds once did,” Twenge said. 

The researchers examined how often teenagers engaged in activities that adults do and that children do not, including dating, working for pay, going out without parents, driving and having sex.

They analysed seven large surveys of 8.3 million 13- to 19-year-olds between 1976 and 2016.

The surveys were nationally representative, reflecting the population of US teenagers in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic region.

In the surveys, teenagers were asked how they used their time, including their engagement in one or more adult activities, allowing researchers to compare teens in the 2010s to teenagers in the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s.

The study found that today’s adolescents are less likely than their predecessors to take part in activities typically undertaken by adults.

The researchers also examined how changes in family size, life expectancy, education and the economy may have influenced the speed at which teenagers take on adult activities.

Also Read: Introducing Adolescents to Alcohol in their Teen Years Can be Risky 

The trend toward engaging in fewer adult activities cannot be explained by time spent on homework or extracurricular activities because time doing those activities decreased among eighth and tenth graders and was steady among twelfth graders and college students, the researchers said.

The decline may be linked to the time teenagers spend online, which increased markedly, the authors noted.

“Our study suggests that teenagers today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol),” study co-author Heejung Park, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, said. (IANS)


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Mother’s Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents

The risk of obesity was also lower among children of mothers who consumed low or moderate levels of alcohol compared with those whose mothers abstained from alcohol

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Mother's Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents
Mother's Lifestyle Choices Linked to Obesity Risk in Adolescents. Pixabay

Adolescents whose mothers follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and refrain from smoking may be 75 per cent less likely to develop obesity, according to a study.

The findings also suggested that children of women who maintained a healthy body weight and did not smoke had 56 per cent and 31 per cent lower risk of obesity respectively.

“The study demonstrates that an overall healthy lifestyle really outweighs any individual healthy lifestyle factors followed by mothers when it comes to lowering the risk of obesity in their children,” said Qi Sun, from the Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the US.

For the study, published in the journal The BMJ, the team examined data from 24,289 children aged between nine and 18 years of age, who were born to 16,945 women. They looked at the association between a mother’s lifestyle and the risk of obesity among their children and adolescents.

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Representational image. Pixabay

The results showed that 5.3 per cent of the group developed obesity during a median five year follow-up period. Maternal obesity, smoking, and physical inactivity were strongly associated with obesity among children and adolescents.

While the greatest drop in obesity risk was seen when mothers and children followed healthy lifestyle habits, many of the healthy habits had a noticeable impact on the risk of childhood obesity when assessed individually.

Also Read: Obesity And Smoking: Roadblocks In Arthritis Treatment

The risk of obesity was also lower among children of mothers who consumed low or moderate levels of alcohol compared with those whose mothers abstained from alcohol.

Further, mothers’ dietary patterns were not associated with obesity in their children, possibly because children’s diets are influenced by many factors, including school lunches and available food options in their neighbourhoods. (IANS)