Perceived quality of life (QoL) in adolescents can be useful in identifying their subgroups at risk of engaging in health-compromising behaviors. Establishing healthy nutritional behaviors and physical activity is important during adolescence, since habits established in this period often persist into adulthood. This study gives insights from the Croatian Health Study of School Children and Adolescence, with focus on QoL of adolescents. The aims of the study were to investigate eating habits, psychical activity and some aspects of self-assessed health of adolescents as potential predictors of their QoL. The sample consisted of 482 high-school students 16–19 years old (243 girls), who participated in project in 2013/2014. Adolescents’ assessment of food frequency consumption, extra-curricular physical activities, frequency of health difficulties within last six month and QoL (WHOQOL-bref) were used.
Boys reported higher levels of QoL than girls in Physical health and Psychological domains. The greatest variance was explained in Physical health for boys (31.5%) and girls (43.2%) and smaller amounts in Psychological domain (18.5% boys, 32% girls), Social relationship (17.1% boys, 19.1% girls) and in Environmental health (16.4% boys, 21.4% girls). Structure of predictors differed for girls and boys in all four domains. The greatest variance was explained by self-perceived health in both boys and girls. More frequent emotional health difficulties within last six months were associated with smaller QoL in all domains, except in boys in Environmental domain. Greater adolescent’s overall perception of their health was associated with higher QoL in all domains, except in Social relationship domain in both boys and girls. More frequent physical health difficulties within last six months were associated with smaller Physical QoL in both boys and girls. Frequency of healthy meals within last seven days predicted Physical QoL in girls; contrary, more frequent unhealthy meals were associated with better Social relationship in boys. Higher frequency of leisure time physical activities was associated with better results in Social and Environmental domain in girls and more frequent physical activities within last seven days were associated with better Psychological and Social relationship QoL in boys.
The selected set of predictors significantly predicted adolescents’ QoL, especially Physical and Psychological domain. These findings support hypothesis that eating habits, physical activity and some aspects of self-assessed health could contribute to QoL of adolescents. Additional variables and predictors of QoL domains need to be examined further. Identifying predictors of QoL could promote prevention and treatment plans for supporting adaptive lifestyle of adolescents.
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