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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


HERNAN, Mariano; FERNANDEZ, Alberto  and  RAMOS, María. Health among teenagers and young adults. Gac Sanit [online]. 2004, vol.18, n.4, pp.47-55. ISSN 0213-9111.

The objective of this article is to analyse different behaviours and opinions about health and health determinants of Spanish young people by age, sex, and place of residence.  They have a broad concept of their health, tending to identify health as physical activity and healthy eating behaviours. Most of them (91%) declared enjoying good or very good health.  Depending upon the age, sex, and place of residence 10 to 20% could have mental health problems. Young people consider illegal drugs as their main health problem. Boys have higher prevalence of overweight and obesity than girls. However, girls reported more often than boys that they perceived themselves as obese. Practice of sporting activities is influenced by family and friends. The proportion of young people that practice sport declines after the age of 15, both in boys and girls. Young people perceive cannabis consumption as normal, but remain ambivalent towards other illegal drugs and asked for more information about drugs. We found a high proportion of young people declaring that they not would try illegal drugs. In the urban settings, smoking is more common among girls than among boys, but the contrary happens in rural areas. Most of them know that smoking is harmful for health, and among those who are smokers, 20 to 40% declared that they want to stop smoking. They consider that health care services are useless for preventing health problems. It is necessary to improve behaviours involving safety, such as use of seat belts and helmets, mainly in rural areas. Young people associated traffic accidents with driving conditions rather than with identification of risk.

Keywords : Young people; Youth; Spain; Health promotion; Habits.

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