For 30 years HBSC has been a pioneer cross-national study gaining insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe is conducted every four years in 45 countries and regions across Europe and North America. With adolescents making about one sixth of the world's population, HBSC uses its findings to inform policy and practice to improve the lives of millions of young people. [more]
The latest HBSC study report, Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being, was launched in Moscow today to an audience of policy-makers, practitioners, NGOs, researchers and journalists.
The report, which presents data from the 2013/2014 survey, shows that 82% of Russian adolescents report high rates of life satisfaction. This matches international trends and highlights the narrowing differences in reported life satisfaction between adolescents in countries in western and eastern Europe.
Adolescents also report significant increases in life satisfaction in Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, although figures have stabilized since the last study in 2009/10.
“The HBSC study is an important voice of young people: the findings reveal their concerns and should inform the policies that we develop for improving child and adolescent health and well-being. Listening to them will allow us to develop more targeted and effective interventions relevant for youth,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
“It is encouraging to see positive trends in the health of Russian school-aged children, as the habits and attitudes acquired at this critical stage in life can affect the entire life-course.”
In general, the report reveals positive trends in the Russian Federation, which coincide with the global picture.
At the same time, the report shows the need to pay close attention to other areas.
Findings from the 2009/10 HBSC study report showed significantly low levels of physical activity among Russian adolescents. This raised concern at the national level and spurred the Russian Ministry of Education and Science to include a third hour of physical education in the school curriculum per week. The 2013/14 survey shows a gradual rise in the proportions meeting the guideline levels of physical activity from the 2009/10 findings – from 16% to 23% for boys and from 9% to 15% among girls.
Using data to inform policy and monitor development is essential for effective policy-making. “The first global conference on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and health promotion in Moscow in 2011 defined different approaches to combating NCDs; one of these was the importance of forming a healthy lifestyle during childhood and adolescence. This includes fighting the use of tobacco and alcohol and unhealthy eating habits. The HBSC study creates an opportunity to monitor the health and well-being of adolescents and to understand the most problematic issues they face, so that these can be addressed in formulating policies for them,” said Dr Oleg Salagay, Head of the Department of Public Health and Communications, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.
The findings on Russian school-aged children can be analysed in a wider international context, as the HBSC study covers 42 countries in Europe and North America. Results are analysed by 340 in-country researchers, supported and coordinated by the International Coordinating Centre at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, United Kingdom, and the Data Management Centre at the University of Bergen in Norway.
The cross-national survey covers diverse aspects of adolescent health and social behaviour, including self-assessment of mental health; obesity and body image; dietary habits; engagement in physical activity; support from families and peers; tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use; and bullying. The latest HBSC report also has a special focus on the effects of gender and socioeconomic differences on the way young people grow and develop.
Much of WHO’s European strategy for improving child and adolescent health is based on data drawn from successive HBSC studies. The strategy sets out a vision, guiding principles and priorities for countries. It promotes working across sectors – from governments to nongovernmental and civil society organizations – to protect and promote the health and well-being of children and adolescents throughout the WHO European Region.
The launch and the Russian translation of the report were supported by the Russian Ministry of Health as part of the work of the geographically dispersed office in Moscow, which is a regional centre of excellence in the field of prevention and control of NCDs.
To access a full copy of Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being, go to: http://www.euro.who.int/en/hbsc-report-2016.
[14-12-2016 to 23-08-2017]