Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2024) | Viewed by 7769

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Integrative Health, University of Debrecen, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary
Interests: health behavior of children; health behavior of ethnic minorities; prevention programs

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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary
Interests: mental health; health and behavior of youth; health literacy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The health behaviour of children is changing over time. In addition to well-known and traditional risk factors, new ones have emerged (e.g., the use of electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco products (IQOS), and video game or smartphone addiction) which influence not only the physical but also mental and emotional status of children and adolescents. Some special vulnerable groups (disabled people and ethnic minorities) are more affected; therefore, we must pay more attention to prevention in these groups. The COVID-19 epidemic was a totally new situation in the life of children and adolescents. During lockdown in most countries, distance (online) learning was introduced in schools as a teaching method, which, in some ways, unfavourably affected both the physical and mental health status of this demographic. The isolation and limited communication with peers may have also disrupted the adolescents’ mental health.  

It could also be an interesting question how we can measure the health literacy in children and whether there is any association between their health literacy and behaviour or health status.

The aim of this Special Issue is to give insight into the new trends in risk behaviours in children and to show what kind of innovative prevention methods are being implemented effectively in this field.

We invite original articles, review articles, and meta-analyses related to these topics. We hope that this Special Issue will contribute to a better understanding of current processes and can give new and innovative methodologies for prevention.

Dr. Attila Sárváry
Dr. Éva Bíró 
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • smoking
  • electronic cigarette use
  • alcohol consumption
  • illegal drug use
  • physical activity
  • eating habit
  • video game
  • smartphone use
  • COVID-19
  • physical health
  • mental health
  • prevention
  • intervention
  • health literacy

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Poverty on Children’s Well-Being and Health Behavior Based on the Results of Research Conducted in One of Hungary’s Most Disadvantaged Micro-Regions
by Gergely Fábián, Katalin Szoboszlai, Anikó Panna Tóth and Anita R. Fedor
Children 2024, 11(6), 624; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11060624 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 464
Abstract
This empirical research on children’s poverty and the accompanying risk behavior was conducted in the Baktalórántháza micro-region, in one of the most disadvantaged micro-regions of Hungary. The study, completed in 2023, was conducted utilizing three methods, a questionnaire for families, interviews, and focus [...] Read more.
This empirical research on children’s poverty and the accompanying risk behavior was conducted in the Baktalórántháza micro-region, in one of the most disadvantaged micro-regions of Hungary. The study, completed in 2023, was conducted utilizing three methods, a questionnaire for families, interviews, and focus group interviews with social professionals working in the settlements. The region is one of the ten micro-regions with the highest poverty rate in the country. The majority of the population only has an elementary education, and the proportion of graduates is much lower than the national average. The proportion of households with three or more children is higher than the national average and the proportion of unemployed people in households with children is twice as high as the national average. Based on the experience of social workers working in the area, in addition to smoking and drinking alcohol, the consumption of psychoactive and psychotropic substances has increased among adolescents and young adults. Based on various indicators, children regularly consume illegal drugs. The origin and composition of these drugs are typically unknown. According to the reports by drug users, everyday life is easier, and they can escape from problems when under the influence of drugs. Based on the observations of experts, the consumption of various psychoactive substances has harmful effects on behavior, health, learning, and family life. School performance and the ability to think and learn decrease. Drug users are dissatisfied with their lives, have problems with social relationships, engage in partner violence, and may develop antisocial behavior in their lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
19 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
Comparative Health Behaviour of Young People with Disabilities in Hungary: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Agota Barabas, Attila C. Nagy, Viktoria Pazmany, Anita K. Grestyak Molnarne, Agnes Nemeth, György Jona, Agnes Santha, Peter Takacs, Emil Toldy-Schedel and Renata Javorne Erdei
Children 2024, 11(5), 589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11050589 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 614
Abstract
The health status of Hungary’s population is unfavorable, with significant differences in health indicators not only compared to the EU15 but also to the Visegrad countries. Unfavorable health indicators can be disproportionate and particularly affect vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities. In [...] Read more.
The health status of Hungary’s population is unfavorable, with significant differences in health indicators not only compared to the EU15 but also to the Visegrad countries. Unfavorable health indicators can be disproportionate and particularly affect vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities. In this study, we set out to compare the health behavior of disabled youth and youth with typical development in Hungary. We also aimed to compare the health behavior of adolescents in the Visegrad countries. The eating habits of both groups of young people we examined are unfavorable. Adolescents with disabilities experience a significantly higher rate of school stress than children with typical development in Hungary. The prevalence of somatic complaints and parameters of poor mental well-being are significantly higher in Hungary than in the other Visegrad countries. The results indicate that additional interventions are needed in Hungary and that differentiated, professional health promotion is needed for young people with disabilities. The researchers recommend extending the study to disabled adolescents living in Visegrad countries, on the basis of which an injury-specific health promotion methodology could be developed with international interprofessional cooperation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
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14 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
The Role of Parental Health Literacy in Establishing Health-Promoting Habits in Early Childhood
by Melinda Csima, Judit Podráczky, Viktória Keresztes, Evelin Soós and Judit Fináncz
Children 2024, 11(5), 576; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11050576 - 10 May 2024
Viewed by 645
Abstract
In early childhood, children are extremely susceptible to the acquisition of habits and the establishment of health-promoting habits. Therefore, the patterns, routines, and rules transmitted and expected by the adults surrounding the child are of paramount importance and can correlate with the level [...] Read more.
In early childhood, children are extremely susceptible to the acquisition of habits and the establishment of health-promoting habits. Therefore, the patterns, routines, and rules transmitted and expected by the adults surrounding the child are of paramount importance and can correlate with the level of their health literacy. Our cross-sectional, quantitative, exploratory study aimed to examine the relationships between parental health literacy and preschool children’s health-related habits, using simple, non-random sampling (n = 598). In addition to the sociodemographic characteristics, the measuring tool we compiled included the standardized European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q16), as well as a set of questions containing 30 statements suitable for exploring children’s habit systems. The health literacy of the parents involved in our study proved to be more favorable than that of the general population. Regarding children’s habit systems, we found significant differences in several areas by age group (p < 0.05) and gender (p < 0.05). The levels of parental health literacy (0.003 ≤ p ≤ 0.048) and parents’ education (p < 0.05) show a correlation with the children’s health-related habit systems: the indicators of children with parents who have a higher level of health literacy and a higher level of education are more favorable in terms of established habits. In the long term, the formation of health-promoting habits may facilitate the internalization of favorable health behavior motives for the future, contributing to the establishment of positive physical, mental, and social health in adulthood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
18 pages, 1116 KiB  
Article
Health Literacy of Children and Adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Parents of IBD Patients—Coping and Information Needs
by Kalina Kaul, Stefan Schumann, Cornelia Sander, Jan Däbritz and Jan de Laffolie
Children 2024, 11(4), 481; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11040481 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 821
Abstract
Background: The number of children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is increasing. Many chronically ill children and adolescents have low health literacy. Patient empowerment (PE) enables positive changes and control over one’s disease through specific activities, information, and counseling. The CEDNA [...] Read more.
Background: The number of children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is increasing. Many chronically ill children and adolescents have low health literacy. Patient empowerment (PE) enables positive changes and control over one’s disease through specific activities, information, and counseling. The CEDNA (IBD Needs Assessment) Survey aimed to provide the necessary data to improve PE in pediatric IBD (PIBD). Methods: Questionnaires were distributed to adolescent IBD patients and parents of children and adolescents with IBD throughout Germany. The answers were given anonymously. Based on the available data, a subgroup analysis was conducted in relation to the age of the patients and the period since diagnosis. For the parents’ responses, the same age groups were analyzed for comparison with the patients’ responses. Results: From October 2021 to April 2022, 2810 questionnaires were distributed and 1158 questionnaires were completed (n = 708 parents [61.1%], n = 450 patients [38.9%]). The results indicate that health literacy in children with IBD is low. Significant gaps in knowledge of important IBD topics were identified, and a comparison of responses regarding preferred methods and timing of obtaining information revealed differences between patient and parent preferences. The greatest need for knowledge on IBD topics was found in the group of 16–17-year-old patients on transition (n = 214, 31.8%) and in the group of patients diagnosed 1–2 years ago on the causes of IBD (n = 288, 17.4%). The willingness to seek advice was unexpectedly low. Conclusions: The analysis of all findings according to the patient’s age structure and duration since diagnosis can be used to enable age-appropriate communication at certain stages of the disease. This tailored information should increase patients’ health literacy, improve their management of the disease, and reduce the burden on their families. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
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12 pages, 294 KiB  
Article
Association between Screen Time and Sociodemographic Factors, Physical Activity, and BMI among Children in Six European Countries (Feel4Diabetes): A Cross-Sectional Study
by Sándor Istvánné Radó, Mónika Molnár, Róbert Széll, Gergő József Szőllősi, Viktória Törő, Bashar Shehab, Yannis Manios, Costas Anastasiou, Violeta Iotova, Kaloyan Tsochev, Nevena Chakarova, Natalia Giménez-Legarre, Maria Luisa Miguel Berges, Peter E. H. Schwarz, Imre Rurik and Attila Sárváry
Children 2024, 11(4), 458; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11040458 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 2605
Abstract
Screen time among children in most European countries is notably high and is influenced by various sociodemographic and other factors. Our study aimed to explore the associations between parents’ sociodemographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, risk status for type [...] Read more.
Screen time among children in most European countries is notably high and is influenced by various sociodemographic and other factors. Our study aimed to explore the associations between parents’ sociodemographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, risk status for type 2 diabetes, and their children’s BMI, physical activity, and screen time. The data were sourced from the 2016 Feel4Diabetes study, involving 12,280 parents and 12,211 children aged 6–9 years (average age 8.21 years) in a cross-sectional study design. We used a logistic regression model to identify potential factors associated with children’s screen time. The results showed that mothers with tertiary education (OR = 0.64; 95%CI = 0.49–0.82; p < 0.001), the middle age group (45–54 years) (OR = 0.81 95%CI = 0.66–0.98; p = 0.033), and families with higher incomes (middle–OR = 0.85; 95%CI = 0.75–0.97; p = 0.014; high–OR = 0.8; 95%CI = 0.69–0.93; p = 0.003) were associated with a decreased chance of children spending more than 2 h/day in front of the screen. In contrast, maternal overweight/obesity (OR = 1.15; 95%CI = 1.03–1.29; p = 0.013) and lower physical activity in children were linked to an increased likelihood of more than 2 h of screen time per day. Our findings suggest that targeted interventions should be developed to mitigate excessive screen time, particularly focusing on low-income families and mothers with low educational levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
11 pages, 2340 KiB  
Article
Disease Trends in Children and Adolescents in Japan: A Retrospective Observational Study Using the Nationwide Claims Data for 2012–2016
by Maiko Suto, Kenji Takehara, Naho Morisaki, Akinori Moriichi, Ruoyan Gai and Rintaro Mori
Children 2024, 11(1), 81; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11010081 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1029
Abstract
This study aimed to clarify diseases that occur more frequently by age and identify the peaks and trends of each disease from infancy to adolescence for early detection and treatment. This retrospective observational study was conducted using Japan’s National Database of Health Insurance [...] Read more.
This study aimed to clarify diseases that occur more frequently by age and identify the peaks and trends of each disease from infancy to adolescence for early detection and treatment. This retrospective observational study was conducted using Japan’s National Database of Health Insurance Claims Specific Health Checkups from January 2012 to December 2016. Using peak ages and trends in the number of patients, we grouped diseases by the International Classification of Diseases chapters. Although diseases that peaked during infancy were the most common (10 disease chapters), other diseases peaked at school-going age and adolescence. Diseases in four chapters peaked during adolescence and continued to increase toward the age of 18. These four chapters included mental, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disorders; diseases of the nervous system; the genitourinary system; and pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium. Childhood-onset diseases can affect long-term health and healthcare needs, and timely screening and guidance based on disease trends can provide an effective intervention. To establish a child healthcare system that provides preventive support for children and adolescents’ physical, psychological, and social health, further research is needed to comprehensively understand the issues per age and developmental stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
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12 pages, 487 KiB  
Article
Daily Optional Physical Education Does Not Counteract Increasing Inactivity by Age among Adolescents
by Zsuzsa Lábiscsák-Erdélyi, Annamária Somhegyi, Ilona Veres-Balajti and Karolina Kósa
Children 2023, 10(12), 1929; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children10121929 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 886
Abstract
Background: This paper describes the outcomes of an integrated health promotion programme implemented in a Hungarian high school offering health education in the curriculum, daily optional physical education, teacher training in applying a person-centered approach in teaching, and parental involvement in school activities. [...] Read more.
Background: This paper describes the outcomes of an integrated health promotion programme implemented in a Hungarian high school offering health education in the curriculum, daily optional physical education, teacher training in applying a person-centered approach in teaching, and parental involvement in school activities. Methods: The evaluation used mixed methods of which results of the before-6-months-after quantitative survey among pupils is described. The health status and behaviour of students were assessed by applying the Hungarian version of the HBSC questionnaire. Results: Significant improvement was found in the self-rated health of girls (6.6% increase in being of excellent health, p = 0.04), and the consumption of sweets and sugary soft drinks decreased significantly for both genders (boys: −10.2%, p = 0.01; girls: −6.06%, p = 0.04). However, the proportion of physically inactive girls significantly increased (girls: 11.2%, p = 0.01), and substance use did not change significantly. Discussion and conclusions: The intervention had significant positive impacts on subjective health and dietary habits and could counteract the secular trend of increasing tobacco, alcohol, and drug consumption by age among adolescents, but this unfortunately does not include physical inactivity. Offsetting the most widespread health risk behavior, physical inactivity, may require mandatory daily physical education in schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behaviour, Health Literacy and Mental Health in Children)
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