The Forgotten Age Phase of Healthy Lifestyle Promotion? A Preliminary Study to Examine the Potential Call for Targeted Physical Activity and Nutrition Education for Older Adolescents

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 14;19(10):5970. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19105970.


To date, little research on healthy lifestyle promotion has focused on older adolescents (16-18-year-olds), yet this is a key time that habitual healthy lifestyles could be developed. Ninety-three participants (thirty-nine males; fifty-four females) (mean age = 16.9, (SD 0.4) years), from three low socio-economic high schools in England, completed an online questionnaire on their self-reported: (i) daily physical activity (PA), (ii) active transportation, (iii) active leisure time, (iv) food intake and (v) experiences of how healthy lifestyles are promoted specifically to them. Overall, 60% reached the daily PA recommended guidelines. Yet, 92% used a bicycle/walked for a least 10 min continuously as active transport and of these, 86% undertook this at least 5 days per week. Almost half undertook MVPA as active leisure, but 66% still spent ≥ 5 h sedentary. Seventeen percent met recommended nutritional guidelines for health and 90% (n = 80) did not report school as a place that promoted healthy lifestyles. It is recommended as a public health measure and as an educational policy matter that schools implement more targeted PA and healthy eating initiatives for older adolescents that also include the adolescent voice. Further, gaining a deeper insight into male older adolescents' health literacy is needed.

Keywords: adolescent voice; health behaviours; health literacy; health promotion; healthy lifestyles; high school; nutrition; older adolescents; physical activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders
  • Schools

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.