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Teens at risk of developing chronic diseases: University of Waterloo

TORONTO, Ont. – A new study has found that the risk of Canadian teenagers developing chronic diseases is increasing.

The University of Waterloo surveyed more than 31,000 teens involved in a number of behaviours such as smoking cigarettes, marijuana use and binge drinking which are raising concerns for researchers.

The behaviours studied have been linked to a risk of developing chronic disease in the future.

“We were rather surprised by the how many students in grade 12 nationally are actually participating in multiple risk behaviours that are associated with the increased risk of chronic disease,” Professor Scott Leatherdale at the University of Waterloo told 680News.

The university’s study showed that from grade 9 to grade 12, the number of marijuana users spiked 124 per cent, binge drinkers jumped by 167 per cent and smokers increased by 170 per cent.

Diet habits were also studied.

“I think the fact that more than 90 per cent of kids in high school, regardless of what grade they were in, were actually getting inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption. That’s a huge concern.”

Leatherdale admits some behaviours are social but youth are knowingly participating in them. Leatherdale asks if society should providing teens with environment conducive to a healthy lifestyle.

“Part of the reason I think underlying a lot of this is the type of environment that are provided to youth populations now in terms of promoting health behaviours more globally.”