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HBSC/WHO report, Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being, launches

Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being presents key findings from 227,441 young people aged 11, 13 and 15 years in 45 countries who took part in the 2017/2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey.

This report, published by WHO Regional Office for Europe, reveals new insights about the physical health, social relationships and mental well-being of school-aged children in Europe and Canada.

Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being is divided into two volumes. Volume 1 provides an overview of the key findings highlighting important gender and socioeconomic differences, as well as changes since the last survey in 2013/2014. Volume 2 presents key data in a series of charts showing country/region-level and overall prevalence by age, gender and family affluence.

Despite the social, economic and political pressures facing many countries during the past decade, the 2017/2018 HBSC survey finds that most adolescents experience positive and supportive social relationships, relatively few health problems, and good overall health and well-being. Substance use continues to decline, and eating habits are improving.

Several alarming trends nevertheless emerge. Since the previous HBSC survey in 2013/2014, fewer adolescents today like school and more experience intense pressure to do well academically. The proliferation of digital media has led to problematic use among some adolescents whose social media behaviours affect their relationships with family and friends and disrupt other activities. Compared to the previous HBSC survey, the prevalence of multiple health complaints has increased, with the most common individual complaints being nervousness, irritability and sleep difficulties. Overweight and obesity continue to rise in some countries and levels of physical activity show little or no improvement in most.

Key findings include:

  • 48% of adolescents eat neither fruit nor vegetables daily (52% boys, 44% girls).

  • Only 2/3 adolescents brush their teeth twice a day (73% girls, 57% boys).

  • Fewer than one in five adolescents achieve the global recommendation for 60 minutes of MVPA every day (23% boys, 16% girls).

  • One in five adolescents are overweight or obese (25% boys, 16% girls)

  • More than one in four adolescents perceived themselves as too fat (31% girls, 22% boys).

  • Over a third (35%) of adolescents communicate with their friends online almost all the time throughout the day. The prevalence is higher among girls than boys.

  • 7% of adolescents report problematic social media use which is characterized by addiction-like symptoms.

  • Adolescents from high-affluence families report higher levels of life satisfaction and excellent health, and lower levels of multiple health complaints.

  • One in four adolescents report feeling nervous, feeling irritable or experiencing sleep difficulties every week.

  • Girls were more likely than boys to report multiple health complaints, and this gender difference increased with age.

  • One in four 15-year-olds (25%) across the HBSC countries/regions who have had sex did not use either of the most effective contraceptive methods (condom or pill) at last intercourse.

  • At age 15, almost three in five young people have drunk alcohol in their lifetime, compared with nearly one in four for smoking and around one in seven for cannabis use.

  • While the proportion of boys and girls who are victims of traditional bullying is similar, girls are more likely to be cyberbullied.

  • Over 1 in 10 adolescents had been cyberbullied at least once in the past couple of months (14% girls, 12% boys). 

  • Boys were more likely to report high family support (72% boys, 70% girls), whereas girls were more likely to report high support from their friends (54% boys, 64% girls).

  • Just over a quarter of adolescents (28%) reported liking school a lot. School satisfaction has declined since 2014 in around a third of countries.

Spotlight on adolescent health and well-being shines a bright light on the key issues affecting young people’s health and well-being. It provides a rich source of data that can be used to compare the health of adolescents, prioritize health spending and monitor progress towards improving the health of young people and building societies in which they can thrive.

see here for further details

item 6144
[18-05-2020 to 31-12-2020]


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