Quality of life related to health and habits: Differences between adolescents in rural and urban environments

An Pediatr (Engl Ed). 2022 Mar;96(3):196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.anpede.2020.11.016. Epub 2022 Feb 26.


Introduction: Adolescence is a decisive stage in human development in which intense physical, psychological, emotional and social changes are experienced. There are many influential factors in health, highlighting among them the environment.

Objective: The objective of the study was to analyse the lifestyle differences associated with the health of adolescents as a function of rural and urban environment.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 761 students (14.51 ± 1.63 years) from 25 educational centers in a region of northern Spain, distributed between 650 urban and 111 rural students. Life habits and different indicators of physical, psychological and social health were evaluated, assessing the level of physical activity, maximum oxygen consumption, hours of night sleep, quality of life related to health, self-esteem, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the environment and the socioeconomic level.

Results: Adolescents in rural areas reported a greater number of hours of night sleep and higher levels of HRQL, both as a whole, and specifically in psychological well-being, school environment and autonomy and parents. Adolescents in urban areas reported higher levels of physical activity between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., and a higher consumption of fast food.

Conclusions: The results show the need for strategies aimed at counteracting the negative influence that physical and sociodemographic factors typical of urbanized areas exert on HRQL. On the other hand, in relation to lifestyle habits, a wider range of extracurricular physical activities in rural areas would be recommended.

Keywords: Adolescent; Adolescente; Calidad de vida; Entorno; Environment; Habits; Health; Hábitos; Quality of life; Rural; Salud; Urban; Urbano.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rural Population*