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HBSC Luxembourg publishes new report on trends in young people's health

This report, published today, documents the results of the 2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Luxembourg, which asked 8687 students aged 11-18 about their health and well-being. The 2018 HBSC survey is the fourth that has been conducted in Luxembourg since 2006, which allows for the presentation and exploration of trends. Key findings from the report include:

Physical and mental health 

37% of the students rate their health as excellent, and 51% rate their health as good. The vast majority of students indicate that they are satisfied with their lives, with girls and students from less affluent families reporting low life satisfaction more often than boys and students from wealthy families. Overall, a high level of life satisfaction has been reported, which remained stable from 2006 – 2018. 

Psychosomatic complaints (e.g. pain, nervousness and dizziness) are an indicator of mental health. Multiple psychosomatic complaints are reported by 49% of girls and 31% of boys. The older the girls are, the more they report multiple psychosomatic complaints. The proportion of students with psychosomatic complaints has increased over time. 

The majority of students (69%) have a normal weight, 12% are underweight, and 19% are overweight. Compared with the percentage of overweight students, significantly more students (34%) think they are too fat. This gap is greater for girls than boys: less than 16% of girls are overweight, but 39% think they are too fat.

Risk behaviours 

13% of students reported having smoked in the 30 days before the survey, and 29% reported having drunk alcohol. 22% of students reported being drunk at least once in their lives. These behaviours become more common as the students get older.

Compared with 2006, students smoke and drink significantly less in 2018. Change in cannabis use in the period 2006 – 2018 is more complex: on the one hand, more students used cannabis in the past 30 days in 2018 compared with 2006; on the other hand, there was an age shift, i.e. the proportion of younger students consuming cannabis has decreased over time, whereas the proportion of older students consuming cannabis has increased. Compared with 2006, aggressive bullying behaviours have become less common. However, the rates remain high, with 25% of students indicating that they were bullied at least once in the last few months (online or at school). 20% of students stated that they had bullied others, and 33% of students were involved in physical fights in the last 12 months. Of students aged 15-18, 40% reported having had sexual intercourse, compared with 50% in 2006. At the last sexual intercourse, 63% of students used a condom, and 45% used the pill. The older the students are, the more often they use the pill without a condom, and the less often they answer "don't know" to the question about contraception at their last sexual intercourse.

Health-promoting behaviour 

Compared to 2006, consumption of fruit and vegetables has increased. In 2018, 4% of students report consuming sweets and soft drinks several times a day. Compared to 2006, the consumption of sweets and soft drinks has decreased. 70% of students brush their teeth several times a day, which represents an improvement since 2006. 

The proportion of students who exercise 4 times a week in their free time has decreased significantly since 2010, from 44% to 35%. There are clear sociodemographic differences concerning exercise. Girls, older students and students from families with low affluence are less active than boys, younger students or students from families with high affluence.

The social environment 

49% of students feel supported by their family to a very high degree, whereas 3% feel supported to a very low degree. Over time, the proportion of students who can easily talk to their father or mother about things that worry them has increased. A high level of support from friends is reported frequently: 44% feel very strongly supported by their friends, and only 3% feel very little support.

Attitudes towards school 

65% of students like school, but the older the students, the smaller the proportion that like school. 40% of students feel somewhat or very stressed by schoolwork. Girls and older students feel stressed more often compared with boys and younger students. The classroom climate is predominantly rated as good (52%) or very good (25%). Students with a migration background perceive the classroom climate to be slightly worse than native students. The majority of students (55%) feel that the relationship with their teachers is good or very good. However, this proportion decreases sharply with increasing age. 

With the help of a cluster analysis, five typical constellations of these attitudes towards school could be identified. Cluster 1 includes 29% of the students and is characterised by universally positive experiences at school (they like school, they are not stressed by it, they have good relationships with their classmates and teachers). The counterpart to this is cluster 5, which includes 9% of the students who report overall negative experiences at school. These school experiences correlate with sociodemographic and health-related characteristics.

A typology of health behaviour 

Performing another cluster analysis, five distinct clusters of health behaviour could be identified. Cluster 1 encompasses the largest group, with almost half of the students. The students in this cluster are predominantly health-conscious, and their health status is generally good. However, the older the students are, the fewer belong to this cluster. The counterpart to cluster 1 is cluster 5, which is also the smallest cluster comprising only 7% of the students. The behaviour of students in this cluster is often detrimental to their health; they are more often involved in bullying and fighting than the average student, they have a lot of stress and low levels of life satisfaction. In the other clusters, positive and negative characteristics are mixed. Cluster 2 groups students whose behaviour and health outcomes are mostly average. Cluster 3 mainly groups physically inactive students who experience a lot of stress and who are often affected by psychosomatic complaints. Students in cluster 4 stand out due to aggressive behaviour and frequent injuries.

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item 6641
[19-04-2021 to 20-09-2022]


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