Gender Differences Relating to Lifestyle Habits and Health-Related Quality of Life of Adolescents

Abstract

Adolescence is a decisive stage in human development during which individuals can experience intense physical, psychological, emotional and social changes. The objective of the study was to analyse the lifestyle differences associated with the health of adolescents as a function of gender. For this, a cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 761 adolescents, distributed between 383 males (14.55 ± 1.64 years) and 378 females (14.46 ± 1.63 years). Relative to males, females presented significantly lower values for engaging in physical activity, maximal oxygen uptake, physical wellbeing, psychological wellbeing and body satisfaction. In exchange, females demonstrated higher vegetable consumption in the daily diet and greater satisfaction in the educational context. Weak or moderate associations were observed amongst the various variables of physical and mental health in both sexes, with these being stronger in females. In particular, the association of the Mediterranean diet with better quality of life, self-esteem and physical activity engagement stands out. Further, exclusively in the case of females, associations were identified between quality of life and body satisfaction. The significant differences found according to the gender of adolescents suggest that educational and health organisations should give more consideration to establishing intervention strategies that are appropriate to the needs of each gender. Specific intervention is important, particularly in the case of females. This should aim to improve self-esteem, combat pressure and social stereotypes around their body figure, and sculpt physical practice so that it is adapted to their interests, needs and tastes, improving their experience with PA.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all students, parents and teachers of the schools that participated in this study.

Funding

The study was partially financed by the Institute of Riojan Studies (IER) of the Government of La Rioja through “Resolución n° 55/2018, de 9 de julio, de la gerencia del instituto de estudios riojanos para la concesión de ayudas para estudios científicos de temática riojana convocadas para el año 2018-2019.”

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All authors were involved in study design, data analysis, data interpretation, literature search and writing the paper and had final approval of the submitted and published versions. None of the authors have any competing interests in the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Raúl Jiménez Boraita.

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Boraita, R.J., Ibort, E.G., Torres, J.M.D. et al. Gender Differences Relating to Lifestyle Habits and Health-Related Quality of Life of Adolescents. Child Ind Res 13, 1937–1951 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-020-09728-6

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Keywords

  • Lifestyle
  • Health
  • Adolescence
  • Physical wellbeing
  • Psychological wellbeing