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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 New York-based Scarborough Research, 92 percent of teens aged 13 to 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, EVP at 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. Sixty-three 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 health care 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 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.”