Youths' Perception of Risky Lifestyles and Non-Communicable Diseases in South-West Nigeria
Background: Youths between the ages of 15 and 24 years are in the phase when lifestyle behavior patterns are established. These lifestyle patterns can continue into adulthood and determine positive or negative health outcomes later in life. Young people who develop risky lifestyles such as uncontrolled alcohol intake, unhealthy dietary patterns, physical inactivity and smoking are predisposed to non-communicable disease (NCDs). The study aimed to describe the perception of youths about the impact of their risky lifestyles on non-communicable diseases.
Methods: A quantitative design for easy quantification of data that described the perception of youths about the impact of risky lifestyles on health outcomes was adopted. Numeric data that can be analyzed statistically were collected from 384 youths of both sexes between 15-24 years, using a closed ended questionnaire with some open ended questions for qualitative enhancement.
Results: Youths revealed that they consumed alcohol, smoked, were physically inactive and did not consume fruits and vegetables on regular basis. 34.1% of youths perceived that the development of NCDs is not associated with a risky lifestyle.
Conclusion: Despite some youths having knowledge about the risks of consuming alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, they still live a risky health style. Urgent response to address youths’ lifestyles in order to reverse the health outcomes that may be posed by NCDs in the future is recommended.