Exercise Habits in Youth Create Better Health Outcomes for Some

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

Forming a long-term recreational exercise habit as a young person has a beneficial impact on physical and mental health later in life, but some groups, such as females and academic high-achievers, miss out on these benefits disproportionately.

A University of Adelaide study found females, people with low self-efficacy, reluctant exercisers, higher academic achievers, and those experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage are all most at risk of failing to establish regular exercise patterns during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The finding was made by examining data collected as part of the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth (LSAY), which also showed young Australians on average exercise less regularly every year after transitioning from high school to university and work.

“It is well known that sustained regular exercise in young people improves fitness, physical health, self-esteem, reduces distress and sets up long-term patterns that reduce disease risk in adulthood,” said Associate Professor Oliver Schubert from the University of Adelaide’s Adelaide Medical School and the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

“There seems to be a critical period in people’s teens, around the age of 15, to establish these behaviors.”

“The disadvantage experienced by females is influenced by reduced opportunity, lower access, and lack of sports diversity, but also divergent parental and cultural expectations, stereotypes, and role models,” says Dr. Julie Morgan, Clinical Associate Lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s Discipline of Psychiatry and lead author of the study.

Females were not the only at-risk group that came as a surprise to the researchers.

“The risk for academic high achievers was unexpected and highlights the need to promote a balance between study and self-care to this group,” said Associate Professor Scott Clark, Head of the University of Adelaide’s Discipline of Psychiatry.

The researchers say outreach is required at an early stage to encourage the at-risk groups they’ve identified to develop long-term exercise habits.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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