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American Teens Weigh in on What Healthy Means
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American Teens Weigh in on What Healthy Means

In their heads, American teens know that leading a healthy lifestyle is important, but does that awareness always translate to a healthy body? According to a study from Scarborough Research, 92 percent percent of teens aged 13-17 say that health and a healthy lifestyle are important and when asked to give themselves a “health report card,” 76 percent of teens gave a grade of B- or higher.

“While this self-awareness of how they rate their healthy living seems to contradict statistics on

child and teen obesity published by the CDC and other agencies, it shows that there is a foundation

or predisposition for turning awareness into actual healthy lifestyle patterns,” said Steve Seraita, Executive Vice President, Scarborough Research.

Parents Know Best

Using the internet is an integral part of teen activity, but it ranks second as a source for where teens go for health information. 63 percent of teens say that when they have questions about health or nutrition, the seek out their parents or guardians, while half turn to the internet. In both cases, girls are more likely to use either source. Seriata notes that healthcare social marketing efforts designed to reach teens might have an even greater impact if their parents were targeted as well.

When teens do go to the web for information on health, they’re more likely to rely on a search engine than they are a social network.

Teens’ Online Sources For Health Information
How often do you… Frequently Occasionally Rarely Never
Use the Internet to find tips/advice about sports? 16% 40% 18% 27%
Search for health/nutrition information using a search engine? 14% 42% 20% 24%
Visit a health site? 12% 36% 21% 31%
Discuss health/nutrition on a social networking site? 12% 28% 19% 41%
Read health/nutrition blogs? 10% 37% 20% 34%
Forward information about health/nutrition to other people? 8% 29% 21% 41%
Participate in discussions on health/nutrition bulletin boards? 8% 27% 19% 46%
Download or liste to a health/nutrition podcasts? 8% 26% 19% 48%
Source: Scarborough Research

“Teens are considered to be at the forefront of social networking, but, when it comes to seeking health information, we can see the power of search outweighs that of social networking,” said Seraita.”However, with half of all teens going to the Internet for health information, marketers must create a comprehensive and diversified online marketing plan — otherwise they will miss reaching half of their target audience.”

Download Scarborough’s Teen Health Perceptions Study.