The secret to becoming a healthy adult may be as simple has having a positive outlook as a child. A Northwestern University study found that teenagers who remain happy through their formative years report better health as adults.
According to researchers, happy teens are also less likely to engage in dangerous behavior such as smoking and binge drinking as they approach adulthood. Scientists reviewed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which collected data on the health and happiness of 10,147 teenagers in 1994 and followed up with them until 2001. They found that teenagers who reported being happy in 1994 were healthier years later than those who claimed they were unhappy or depressed.
“Our study shows that promoting and nurturing positive well-being during the teenage years may be a promising way to improve long-term health,” said Lindsay Till Hoyt, first author of the study. “People have used a positive youth development approach to curb problems like delinquency and improve school achievement, but this approach may also be a way to help improve the health of young people,” added Hoyt.