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Oct 17, 2007

Teens place “health” low down on list of priorities

A new study from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) shows that teenagers are putting their health at risk, because they place very little importance on it.

47% of teenagers say that if they experienced any pain or felt unwell, they would do nothing and simply hope that the problem went away.

For boys aged 13 to 19, friends are the single most important thing in their life, followed by social life, money, family and the way they look.

For girls, friends are also most important, but BritainÂ’s teen queens are pre-occupied with the way they look too – their appearance is their other main concern, way above their health and well being.

Commenting on these disturbing findings Tim Hutchful of the BCA said, ““Today’Â’s teens have become so engrossed in their social lives and with their appearance that the most important thing, their personal health, seems to have slipped off their agenda. Many teenagers are ignoring aches and pains which could lead to back and joint problems in later life.””

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62% of teenagers have already experienced back ache, yet less that 5% of teenagers said they would actually look to seek advice from a doctor or health professional, such as a chiropractor.

The survey also revealed:

  • 53% boys and 63% girls spend between one and two hours a day using social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo.
  • 75% of girls spend between one to three hours a day emailing friends.
  • 66% of girls and 48% of boys spend a minimum of one hour ‘preening themselves every day.
  • Over three quarters (77%) of teen males and 84% of teen girls spend a minimum of five hours or more a week socialising with friends.
  • Only one in five teen males spend just an hour a week exercising outside of school or college.
  • 16% of males and 22% of females admit to not exercising at all in their free time.

Sleeping in an awkward position was cited as the largest cause of back pain amongst BritainÂ’s teens (81%), followed by carrying heavy bags (76%) as well as sitting for long periods of time in the same position (59%).

This year the BCA has launched Straighten Up UK, a simple 3-minute exercise programme designed to improve posture. By incorporating just a few simple exercises into their daily routine, teenagers can really make a difference to their health. Visit  www.straightenupuk.org for more information.

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