The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
When teenagers feel good about themselves and their lives, it may also do their hearts good in the long run, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that teenagers who generally felt happy, optimistic, and loved went on to show better cardiovascular health in their 20s and 30s versus kids who lacked that level of mental well-being.
Overall, they were more likely to maintain a healthy weight, as well as normal blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. And having such positive feelings appeared particularly important for Black teenagers’ future health.
“One thing I’m struck by is we really don’t have a handle on the ‘good things’ that kids need to support their cardiometabolic health,” said lead researcher Farah Qureshi, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.
To dig into the question, her team examined data from a national health study that enrolled nearly 3,500 U.S. high school students in the 1990s and followed them for more than two decades.
At the outset, the students answered questions that gauged five psychological assets: happiness; hopefulness about the future; high self-esteem; feeling socially accepted; feeling loved and wanted.
The bad news: More than half of kids — 55% — had none or only one of those positive feelings.
But when they had four or five of those assets, they were about 69% more likely to maintain good cardiovascular health into their 30s compared with their peers. That was with a range of other factors — like family income, parents’ education, and kids’ body weight — taken into account.
In line with past research, this study found that an unfortunately small number of participants maintained good cardiovascular health into their late 30s: just 12% overall.
The study was published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.