Teenagers in the United States today are often more stressed out than adults, according to a new study by the American Psychological Association (APA). In a statement, the APA argues that these high stress levels are affecting the ability of young people to make healthy choices.

Online survey results from nearly 2,000 adults and 1,000 teens across the country over the past year show that, on average, teens rank their stress levels during the school year as a 5.8 on a 10-point scale. Adults, on the other hand, report their stress levels, on average, at a lower 5.1 rank.

Researchers also found that many unhealthy behaviors associated with these high levels of stress have begun manifesting much earlier among youth. For example, more than one third of teens said they felt tired or fatigued due to stress at some point. One in four teenagers reported skipping a meal after feeling stressed out. Most young people also slept far less than the recommended amount (7.4 hours on weeknights as opposed to the recommended 8.5), and many teens said they could not find the time to exercise regularly.

Study authors say providing teens with better support and health education in school and at home, as well as during interactions with health care professionals, could help reverse the potentially troubling long-term effects of this stress on the mental and physical health of teens.

To read the statement, click here.