Kids are more likely to develop serious health problems later in life, according to new research published in the journal Preventive Medicine.
The study of more than 7,000 children and teens from more than 60 countries, led by Dr. Jennifer A. Brown from Johns Hopkins University, examined the long-term health outcomes of children who received life skills instruction from primary health care providers, including school nurses, social workers, teachers, social work assistants, and school nurses.
In all, 6 million children and adolescents received life skill instruction from health care professionals in the United States.
Among the most important results were that kids with serious health issues were more likely than others to develop depression and suicide attempts, as well as higher rates of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
Among the findings were that:The study’s lead author, Dr. Brown, says that life skills lessons can help prevent, detect, and treat all types of health problems and conditions, and can reduce depression and anxiety.
“Life skills instruction is a powerful way to build healthy relationships, social skills, and confidence, and this study is the first to look at the long term health effects of life skills.
The data indicates that children with serious illnesses and serious problems who are given life skills are at a much greater risk of developing serious health conditions and death,” she said.
Dr. Brown says this type of training is the perfect opportunity to give kids a real life experience of the positive benefits of healthy living, rather than simply “putting on a show.”
“Kids need a chance to practice healthy living so they are equipped to take charge of their own health and health issues,” she says.
“We need to educate our children and get them out in the real world so they know how to live and thrive.”
“If you think of all the things we do for our children, they will be more equipped to do things like walk in parks, play outside, or go for walks.”
Brown is a professor of preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and lead author of the study.
She was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women, Aging, and Health (OREH).
She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member, along with Brown, of the AAP’s Task Force on Life Skills.