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Special Issue "Promoting Adolescent Health and Wellbeing for a Better Transition to Healthy Lifestyle Adulthood"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2022) | Viewed by 14028

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lorena Charrier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy
Interests: public health; epidemiology; health promotion; preventive medicine; risk behavior; tobacco control; adolescent
Prof. Dr. Paola Dalmasso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Public Health and Pediatrics, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy
Interests: public health; epidemiology; biostatistics; adolescents; well-being and health complaints; health behavior; migration
Dr. Paola Nardone
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Centre for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Italian National Institute of Health, 00161 Rome, Italy
Interests: public health; epidemiology; child and adolescent health; life style behaviour; health promotion
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Paola Berchialla
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Center for Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torin, 10043 Turin, Italy
Interests: bayesian statistics; machine learning; clinical epidemiology; precision medicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on “Promoting Adolescent Health and Wellbeing for a Better Transition To Healthy Lifestyle Adulthood” in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The World Health Organization defines adolescence as the age between 10 and 19 years. It is a distinctive phase of life that affects health, quality of life, and overall wellbeing in adulthood. Focusing on adolescence is crucial from a public health perspective, as the health-related behaviors and conditions that underlie the major non-communicable diseases usually start or are reinforced during this period: tobacco and alcohol use, substance abuse, diet and physical activity habits patterns, overweight and obesity, sexual behavior.

Adolescents face many pressures and challenges, including increasing school demands and expectations, changing social relationships with family and peers, and increasing exposure to online interactions. Adolescence is also a period of physical growth and brain development, and these years mark a period of increased autonomy during which experimentation, exploration, and risk-taking are part of adolescents’ everyday life.

Moreover, some adolescents are particularly vulnerable to poor health due to lack of family support, individual or environmental factors. Social inequalities and migrant background play a crucial role in adolescent wellbeing and are potential sources of health inequalities.

Due to its uniqueness and critical importance in the transition to adulthood, adolescence deserves specific attention. Key actions and tailored interventions for implementing effective health promotion strategies are needed to help adolescents to choose positive health behaviors and to face the challenges of this phase of their life.

This Special Issue welcomes research papers on various aspects of adolescent’s health, such as risk and health behaviors, physical activity, eating and dieting, family, school and peer relationships, use of social media, mental health, sexual habits, and emerging issues such as gambling. We also encourage the submission of interdisciplinary work and multicountry collaborative research. We welcome original research papers as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Dr. Lorena Charrier
Prof. Dr. Paola Dalmasso
Dr. Paola Berchialla
Dr. Paola Nardone
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • health
  • health promotion
  • well-being
  • risk behavior
  • mental health
  • health behavior
  • social context
  • migration
  • social media
  • inequalities
  • gender

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
The Association between Greenness and Urbanization Level with Weight Status among Adolescents: New Evidence from the HBSC 2018 Italian Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105897 - 12 May 2022
Viewed by 595
Abstract
Recent studies have examined how the environment can influence obesity in young people. The research findings are conflicting: in some studies, green spaces have shown a protective association with obesity and urbanization has turned out to worsen this condition, while other studies contradicted [...] Read more.
Recent studies have examined how the environment can influence obesity in young people. The research findings are conflicting: in some studies, green spaces have shown a protective association with obesity and urbanization has turned out to worsen this condition, while other studies contradicted these results. The aim of the study was to examine the relationships between greenness, urbanization, and weight status among Italian adolescents. Student data (11–13 years old) on weight and height, physical activity (PA), and demographic characteristics were extracted from the 2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Piedmont, Northwest of Italy. Data on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and urbanization were obtained from satellite images and the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). A multilevel regression model was used to assess the association between NDVI, urbanization, and obesity, controlling for PA. Students living in greener areas reported a lower likelihood of being obese [OR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.02–0.56, p = 0.007], while students living in areas with a higher level of urbanization showed a significantly increased risk of obesity [OR = 2.3, 95% CI:1.14–4.6, p = 0.02]. Living surrounded by higher amounts of greenness and lower levels of urbanization may positively influence health status through lower risk of obesity among youth. Full article
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Article
Physical Activity among Italian Adolescents: Association with Life Satisfaction, Self-Rated Health and Peer Relationships
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084799 - 15 Apr 2022
Viewed by 613
Abstract
The aim of this study was to describe physical activity, both moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and vigorous physical activity (VPA), in a large nationally representative sample of Italian adolescents, aged 11, 13 and 15, and to evaluate if Italian adolescents were in line [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to describe physical activity, both moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and vigorous physical activity (VPA), in a large nationally representative sample of Italian adolescents, aged 11, 13 and 15, and to evaluate if Italian adolescents were in line with the 2020 WHO recommendations. In order to assess the possible impact of physical activity on adolescent psychological and social wellbeing, the associations between MVPA and VPA with life satisfaction, self-rated health and peer relationships were also explored. Data from the 2018 Italian Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey on 58,976 adolescents were analysed. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the association between physical activity and self-rated health, life satisfaction and peer relationships. The association of the Family Affluence Scale with self-rated health, life satisfaction and peer relationships was also studied. The results showed that the majority of Italian adolescents did not meet current physical activity WHO guidelines on MPVA. The prevalence of adolescents claiming to be involved “at least four or more times per week” in VPA was 29%. Overall, our findings highlighted a positive association between MVPA and VPA and life satisfaction, self-rated health and peer support. Data from this study underlined the need to encourage physical activity, especially among older adolescents and girls, who claimed lower levels of MPVA and VPA. Full article
Article
Forecasting Frequent Alcohol Use among Adolescents in HBSC Countries: A Bayesian Framework for Making Predictions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2737; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052737 - 26 Feb 2022
Viewed by 772
Abstract
(1) Aim: To summarize alcohol trends in the last 30 years (1985/6–2017/8) among 15-year-olds in Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) countries (overall sample size: 413,399 adolescents; 51.55% girls) and to forecast the potential evolution in the upcoming 2021/22 HBSC survey. (2) Methods: [...] Read more.
(1) Aim: To summarize alcohol trends in the last 30 years (1985/6–2017/8) among 15-year-olds in Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) countries (overall sample size: 413,399 adolescents; 51.55% girls) and to forecast the potential evolution in the upcoming 2021/22 HBSC survey. (2) Methods: Using 1986–2018 prevalence data on weekly alcohol consumption among 15-year-olds related to 40 HBSC countries/regions, a Bayesian semi-parametric hierarchical model was adopted to estimate trends making a clusterization of the countries, and to give estimates for the 2022 HBSC survey. (3) Results: An overall declining trend in alcohol consumption was observed over time in almost all the countries. However, compared to 2014, some countries showed a new increase in 2018 and 2021/22 estimates forecast a slight increase in the majority of countries, pointing out a potential bounce after a decreasing period in frequent drinking habits. (4) Conclusions: The clusterization suggested a homogenization of consumption habits among HBSC countries. The comparison between 2022 observed and expected data could be helpful to investigate the effect of risk behaviour determinants, including the pandemic impact, occurring between the last two waves of the survey. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Problematic Social Media Use on Happiness among Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Lifestyle Habits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2576; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052576 - 23 Feb 2022
Viewed by 1205
Abstract
Background: Although the relationship between problematic social media use (PSMU) and happiness has been already explored, less is known about the mechanisms that translate PSMU into lower happiness through lifestyle habits. Therefore, the current study focuses on the association between PSMU and happiness, [...] Read more.
Background: Although the relationship between problematic social media use (PSMU) and happiness has been already explored, less is known about the mechanisms that translate PSMU into lower happiness through lifestyle habits. Therefore, the current study focuses on the association between PSMU and happiness, exploring a mediating effect of lifestyle habits (e.g., difficulties in getting to sleep and frequency of physical activity) among Italian adolescents. Methods: A total of 58,976 Italian adolescents (mean age = 13.6, SD = 1.63; age range = 10.5–16.5; 49.4% females) were included. The pattern of relationships specified by the theoretical model was examined through path analysis. Results: Difficulties in getting to sleep (β = −0.037, p < 0.001) and frequency of physical activity (β = −0.012, p < 0.001) were mediators in the relationship between PSMU and happiness. Multi-group analyses across gender and age groups (11, 13, and 15 years old) showed that the chain mediating effect of the frequency of physical activity on the difficulties in getting to sleep was not significant for females but significant for males and for all of the three age groups. Overall, females and older ages were sensitive to the whole model. Conclusion: Along with difficulties in getting to sleep and the frequency of physical activity, lifestyle habits may contribute to the association between PSMU and happiness. We also recommend that future studies focus on PSMU in females and older adolescents, as they show more general sleep problems and reduced physical activity. Full article
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Article
Mental Well-Being: 2010–2018 Trends among Italian Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 863; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020863 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 670
Abstract
(1) Aims: To explore temporal trends 2010–2018 of well-being among Italian adolescents and to evaluate potential explanatory factors. (2) Methods: Italian nationality representative samples of students aged 11, 13, and 15 years were recruited in 2010, 2014, and 2018; Health Behaviour in School-aged [...] Read more.
(1) Aims: To explore temporal trends 2010–2018 of well-being among Italian adolescents and to evaluate potential explanatory factors. (2) Methods: Italian nationality representative samples of students aged 11, 13, and 15 years were recruited in 2010, 2014, and 2018; Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC), for an overall number of 165,000 teenagers. Multivariable logistic regression models were performed to fit the trends over time of life satisfaction (LS), psychological (PSY-HC) and somatic health complaints (SOM-HC) considering the contextual factors: school work pressure, social support (family, school, peers), socioeconomic status, geographic area, and immigration background; (3) Results: From 2010 to 2018 while LS was steady, health complaints increased, mainly for PSY-HC, in all age and gender groups. Trend of PSY-HC affected mainly 15-years-olds: rates among boys varied from 29.6% to 35.9% (OR: 1.13, 95%CI: 1.02–1.25); among girls from 49.1% to 63.3% (OR: 1.56, 95%CI: 1.42–1.72). High school work pressure and poor social support play a central role in worsening well-being outcomes; (4) Conclusions: Our findings pictured a remarkable worsening trend of teenagers’ well-being, especially among 15-year-old girls. Further research will be required to investigate this breaking up of the connection between psychophysical symptomatology and cognitive perception of life satisfaction. Full article
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Article
Impact of COVID-19 on Life of Students: Case Study in Hong Kong
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910483 - 06 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1762
Abstract
COVID-19 has an impact on the day-to-day life of students, with school closure and detrimental effects on health and well-being that cannot be underestimated. A study collected data reflecting the health and well-being of secondary school students entering a programme entitled “Healthy Life [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has an impact on the day-to-day life of students, with school closure and detrimental effects on health and well-being that cannot be underestimated. A study collected data reflecting the health and well-being of secondary school students entering a programme entitled “Healthy Life Planning: Assist Students to Acquire and Practice Health Knowledge and Skills” (ASAP study) in September and October 2019 before the outbreak of COVID-19. Follow-up data were collected in June and July 2020, over half a year since the spread of COVID-19, which facilitated analyses of its impact on the health behaviours and well-being of young people. Comparative analyses between baseline and the follow-up period were conducted on weight status, sleep pattern and quality, pattern of sedentary lifestyle, pattern of physical activity, attitudes and perceived barriers for exercise, and hand hygiene. Attitudes toward precautionary measures and influenza vaccination, self-reported changes in hygiene practices, exercise habits and eating habits were analysed. Although hygiene habits and risk perceptions among young people have improved in many aspects, the level of physical activity has declined as well as the beliefs and attitudes on increasing time on electronic media and change in sleep hygiene. Attitudes and beliefs towards influenza vaccination have declined, which would reflect the slow increase in the uptake rate of COVID-19 vaccination. Health education should equip students with the knowledge and skills to cultivate beliefs and attitudes to face health challenges. Full article
Article
Subjective Perceptions of South Korean Parents Regarding the Effectiveness of Taekwondo Education for Adolescents and Its Characteristics: The Q Methodology Application
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189687 - 14 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
This study aims to determine why Korean parents provide adolescent children with continuous physical education through Taekwondo. The Q methodology was applied. The final 25 Q-samples were selected by composing the Q-population. Twenty parents who provided their children with Taekwondo education for more [...] Read more.
This study aims to determine why Korean parents provide adolescent children with continuous physical education through Taekwondo. The Q methodology was applied. The final 25 Q-samples were selected by composing the Q-population. Twenty parents who provided their children with Taekwondo education for more than 10 years were designated as the P-sample. Q-sorting was performed on the P-sample. Centroid factor analysis and varimax rotation were performed using version 2.35 of PQ method program. The study observed four factors with a total explanatory variance of 69%. Types 1 to 4 (N = 5, 7, 5, and 3) pertained to a powerful means of enhancing mental health, the driving force behind stable school life and social development, improvement in psychological and social areas for a successful transition to adulthood, and increased awareness of the values of Taekwondo and importance of physical activity, with eigenvalues of 4.59, 6.42, 3.16, and 1.18 and explanatory variances of 0.16, 0.32, 0.12, and 0.09, respectively. Furthermore, consensus statements for each type were investigated as Q18 and Q17. These findings supported the academic foundation of proper Taekwondo education in adolescence and confirmed it as a powerful means of exerting a positive impact on adulthood. Full article
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Article
Identifying Factors Influencing Attention in Adolescents with a Co-Created Questionnaire: A Citizen Science Approach with Secondary Students in Barcelona, Spain
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 8221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18158221 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1524
Abstract
Studies on factors that can influence attention in healthy adolescents are recent and focus on recurrent topics. Students’ contribution to public health research often revolves around collecting data but rarely around creating data collection instruments. The ATENC!Ó project reunited secondary students and scientists [...] Read more.
Studies on factors that can influence attention in healthy adolescents are recent and focus on recurrent topics. Students’ contribution to public health research often revolves around collecting data but rarely around creating data collection instruments. The ATENC!Ó project reunited secondary students and scientists to create a questionnaire including factors that students thought could affect their attention. We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess whether the factors included in this questionnaire had an effect on attention in adolescents. A total of 1667 students (13–16 years old) from 28 schools in Barcelona performed a validated attention test and answered the questionnaire. The response speed consistency (attentiveness), expressed as hit reaction time standard error (HRT-SE, in ms), was used as the primary outcome. Analyses were conducted using conditional linear regression with school as strata, adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and further stratified by gender and maternal social class. Some factors showed a negative influence on attention, including taking medication and not reading regularly. We found a significant 14.3% (95% confidence interval: 3.4%, 25.3%) higher median of HRT-SE (increase inattentiveness) among students who reported not having a good relationship with classmates. Students’ input into research is relevant for advancing the knowledge production in public health. Full article
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Article
Academic Stress, Physical Activity, Sleep, and Mental Health among Chinese Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7257; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147257 - 07 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2248
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the impacts of academic stress on physical activity and sleep, and subsequently their impacts on anxiety and depression. Methods: This cross-sectional study collected data from a convenience sample of 1533 adolescents in an eastern province [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the impacts of academic stress on physical activity and sleep, and subsequently their impacts on anxiety and depression. Methods: This cross-sectional study collected data from a convenience sample of 1533 adolescents in an eastern province in China. Surveys were used to collect data on academic stress, anxiety, depression, sleep, physical activity, and demographics. Descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, and path analysis were used to analyze data. Results: The participants reported about 6.77 ± 0.89 h of sleep per day and 1.62 ± 1.79 days of 60 min of physical activity each week. Academic stress was positively correlated with anxiety and depression, which were negatively correlated with physical activity and sleep. The path analysis showed that academic stress directly predicted anxiety (β = 0.54) and depression (β = 0.55), and hours of sleep (β = 0.024) and the number of days of 60 min physical activity (β = 0.014) mediated the relation. Conclusion: The results largely supported our hypotheses and supported the need to lessen academic stress experienced by Chinese adolescents, in effort to enhance mental health indices directly, and by allowing for engagement in health-related behaviors such as physical activity and sleep. Full article
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Article
Positive Adolescent Development: Effects of a Psychosocial Intervention Program in a Rural Setting
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6784; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186784 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1316
Abstract
The Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach identifies adolescents as resources to be empowered rather than problems to be solved. All adolescents have strengths and will fully develop when these strengths are integrated with healthy resources in the diverse environments where they live and [...] Read more.
The Positive Youth Development (PYD) approach identifies adolescents as resources to be empowered rather than problems to be solved. All adolescents have strengths and will fully develop when these strengths are integrated with healthy resources in the diverse environments where they live and interact. The objective of this study was twofold: (1) to present the Positive Development Program for Adolescents living in rural areas (DPAR Program) and (2) to pilot test the intervention program. The DPAR program was evaluated using a repeated-measures design before and after the intervention, with an intervention group and a control group. The sample consisted of 176 adolescents between 11 and 15 years old (M = 12.89, SD = 0.90) who belonged to two high schools with similar characteristics located in rural settings. A mixed-design analysis of variance was performed for each dependent variable. Results showed a significant increase in most of the study variables (self-esteem, self-efficacy, group identity, empathy, relational skills, assertiveness, and conflict resolution) and a significant decrease in alexithymia, as well as better academic performance. All this evidence indicates that the DPAR program is effective in promoting positive adolescent development and addresses the lack of programs based on the PYD approach in rural areas. Full article
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Article
Body Fat Mediates Association between Active Living and Health among Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5715; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165715 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
The aim of this study was to explore the association of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and organized leisure-time activities with self-rated health among adolescents and whether these associations are mediated by body fat percentage. We used data on 888 adolescents (mean age 12.97, SD [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to explore the association of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and organized leisure-time activities with self-rated health among adolescents and whether these associations are mediated by body fat percentage. We used data on 888 adolescents (mean age 12.97, SD 1.20, 56.0% boys) from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study conducted in 2018 in Slovakia. We used logistic regression models to examine associations within self-reported data (moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and organized leisure-time activities with self-rated health) and their mediation by anthropometric data (body fat percentage). The adolescents who were sufficiently physically active and with normal body fat were more likely to report good or excellent health (odds ratios—OR/95% confidence intervals—95% CI: 3.52/1.50–8.27 and 3.66/2.37–5.68). Similarly, the adolescents who were engaged in individual/team sport and with normal body fat were more likely to report good or excellent health (OR/95% CI: 2.04/1.31–3.17 and 3.66/2.37–5.68). Adjustment for body fat percentage reduced the association between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and self-rated health by 27.6% and the association between leisure-time activities and self-rated health by 30.7%. Active living and normal body fat might contribute to better health in adolescence. Programs and efforts to increase physical activity and leisure-time activities in childhood and adolescence need to identify which aspects of these activities are important, effective, and crucial for the population of adolescents. Full article
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