Adolescent lifestyle and behaviour: A survey from a developing country

Waris Qidwai, Sidra Ishaque, Sabeen Shah, Maheen Rahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Adolescents form two-thirds of our population. This is a unique group of people with special needs. Our survey aims to identify the lifestyle and behavioral patterns in this group of people and subsequently come up with issues that warrant special attention. Methods: A survey was performed in various schools of Karachi. Data collection was done via a face-to-face interview based on a structured, pre-tested questionnaire. Participants included all willing persons between 12-19 years of age. Results: Most adolescents with lifestyle issues fell in the age group of 16-18 years. Females were more depressed than males and had more sleep problems. Substance abuse and other addictions were documented more in males. Watching television or listening to music was stated as the most common late night activity (61.8%) and therefore was also referred to as the contributory factor for less than eight hours of sleep each day. (58.9%) of the respondents are getting less than eight hours of sleep daily. (41.5%) of the respondents who felt depressed sought treatment for it. Quite a few of them were also indulged in substance abuse and other addictions. Only (16.8%) of the respondents opined that physical activity is essential for health. Thirty-five adolescents out of all the respondents were smoking cigarettes currently, whereas 7% of the respondents chewed paan (areca nut). Peer pressure was the most common reason (37.1%) to start smoking. Conclusion: Adolescents need to be treated as a distinct segment of our population and it is important to realize and address their health and lifestyle problems. Inadequate sleep, depression and smoking were the leading unhealthy behaviours among the respondents. Families can play an important role to help these adolescents live a healthier life. Further research studies should be carried out to highlight issues of concern and their possible solutions in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12914
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2010


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