12.AUG.2016 3 MIN READ | 3 MIN READ

Common habits among teenagers these days may increase their risk of developing heart disease, sooner rather than later.

These are some of the ways that Singaporean teenagers could be hurting their heart. Help your child replace these habits with healthier ones, before it is too late.

Lack of sleep

Late to bed and late to rise, many Singaporean teenagers are not getting enough sleep. While puberty may change the body clock and your teen may think that controlling their own nightly routine is a rite of passage into adulthood, teenagers still need around nine and a half hours of shut eye a night.

Research has shown that teenagers who are sleep deprived or have a disturbed sleep are more likely to suffer from both high blood pressure and high cholesterol – both pre-cursors of heart disease.

Soft drinks

Many teens have a liking for soft drinks, particularly energy drinks, often relying on the sugar rush as a way of making up for a lack of sleep. Energy drinks are usually high in caffeine. Studies have shown that they may cause irregular heartbeats even in healthy people, which can be dangerous to heart health. For teens with an underlying heart condition, they can pose an even greater risk.

Recent studies in the US have shown that energy drinks and soft drinks account for 13% of a teenager’s calorie intake , leading to obesity – another contributing factor of heart disease.

A healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise are healthier ways to increase energy levels and maintain a healthy heart.


It’s a sad fact that 90% of people start smoking before the age of 19. It is estimated that 3 children in every Primary 6 class in Singapore today will eventually be killed by tobacco.

While many teens start smoking as a way of fitting in with their peers, the nicotine cigarettes contain is addictive. It is this substance that narrows blood vessels and makes the heart work harder. Tar and other chemicals also compound the risk of heart disease. They can cause the build up of plaque in the arteries, raising cholesterol levels and lowering the efficacy of fibrinogen, an important blood clotting substance.

Among young people, smoking is reported to account for 75% of heart disease cases, which is a sobering thought. By starting smoking at a young age the risk increases – the longer you smoke, the higher the risk.


Article brought to you by Mount Elizabeth Hospitals


McKinlay, R D. (n.d.) Childhood Obesity: The Link to Drinks. Retrieved from https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/childhood-obesity-the-link-to-drinks

Youth and Tobacco Use. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/youth_data/tobacco_use/