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HBSC data highlights the health of Flemish youth

The HBSC Belgium (Flemish) team, from the University of Ghent, have published the results of their 2017/18 survey. The results show that Flemish young people are satisfied with their lives, they smoke less than they used to, obesity levels have fallen, and their diets have improved. However, they don't spend enough time being physically active, and the research shows an increase in the prevalence of psychological problems. 

The data comes from 11,000 Flemish young people aged between 11 and 18. With this valuable information, policymakers and health promotion practitioners can start to develop new initiatives or adjust existing ones that protect and promote the health and well-being of young people.

Health and well-being: more sleeping problems

  • Nine out of ten young people report high levels of life satisfaction and a majority of boys (85%) and girls (80%) rate their health as good or excellent. 

  • Since the previous survey in 2014, the prevalence of physical complains such as headaches, abdominal pain, back pain and dizziness has fallen.

  • There has been an increase in the number of young people who regularly feel moody, nervous or lifeless.

  • Since 2002 there has been a dramatic rise in the number of young people reporting sleep difficulties, from 17% to 24% among boys and from 21% to 30% among girls.

Alcohol and tobacco: reductions in smoking, boys drink less than before

  • The prevalence of young people who smoke daily fell between 2014 and 2018, from 9% to 4% of boys and from 6% to 2% of girls.

  • Three in ten young people drink alcohol at least once a month. This represents a 10% decrease in monthly drinkers among boys since 2014, while the figure has remained steady among girls.

Physical activity and leisure

  • 21% of boys and only 14% of girls meet the WHO guidelines for daily physical activity (60 minutes per day). Even though these figures are extremely low, this represents an improvement from the results of the 2014 survey in the region.

  • Under than 10% of boys and girls meet the guidelines of a maximum of 2 hours of screen-time per day.

Healthy diet and healthy weight

  • More than half of Flemish young people eat vegetables every day. However, only 33% of boys and 42% of girls report eating at least one piece of fruit daily. These figures represent a marked improvement over the results from 2014, when the prevalence of both daily fruit and daily vegetable consumption was around 10 percentage points lower.

  • 29% of boys and 20% of girls reported drinking soft drinks every day. In 2014 these figures were around ten percentage points higher.

  • The percentage of overweight and obese boys and girls fell slightly from 16% in 2014 to 14% in 2018.

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item 5703
[17-09-2019 to 30-06-2020]


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