New research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that teenagers who reported optimism, happiness, self-esteem, and feeling wanted had a higher likelihood of good cardiometabolic health later in adulthood.
More than 3,500 teenage students were chosen for the study as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The participants had enrolled in 1994 and were followed for over 20 years.
What the researchers found: “Overall, 55% of youth had zero to one positive mental health asset, while 29% had two to three assets and 16% had four to five assets.”
“As young adults, only 12% of participants maintained cardiometabolic health over time, and white youth were more likely to maintain good health later in life compared to Black or Latino youth,” the researchers also determined.
“Teens with four to five positive mental health assets were 69% more likely to maintain positive cardiometabolic health as young adults.”
The new study suggests that youth mental health warrants early investment and may be a critical area of research for cardiometabolic health.