Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-National Study (HBSC): Findings from the 2014 HBSC Survey in Scotland

Currie, C., van der Sluijs, W., Whitehead, R., Currie, D., Rhodes, G., Neville, F. and Inchley, J. (2015) Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-National Study (HBSC): Findings from the 2014 HBSC Survey in Scotland. Other. Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit (CAHRU), St Andrews, UK.

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Publisher's URL: http://www.cahru.org/content/03-publications/04-reports/hbsc_nr14_interactive_final.pdf

Abstract

This report presents data on adolescent health from the World Health Organization (WHO) collaborative cross-national Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study in Scotland. Prevalence statistics for 2014 are presented and these are compared to equivalent data where available from six previous survey rounds (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010). A nationally representative sample of over 10,800 pupils participated in the 2014 Scottish HBSC survey. The key findings are summarised below. Family life: Most young people in Scotland (65%) live with both of their parents, 19% live with a single mother and 2% live with a single father. Twelve percent (12%) live in a stepfamily. The proportion of young people living with both parents has gradually declined since 1990. The proportion of Scottish young people describing their family as ‘very well off ’ increased from 11% in 1998 to 21% in 2014. Since 1990 there has been a steady increase in easy communication with fathers, but young people remain more likely to find it easy to talk to their mother (82%) than to their father (66%) about things that really bother them. There has been a persistent gender difference since 1990, with boys finding it easier than girls to talk to their father. Sixty-two percent (62%) of young people perceive a high level of emotional and practical support from their family, but this reduces with age. THE school environment: Approximately one quarter of young people in Scotland (23%) report that they like school ‘a lot’, but this proportion reduces with age, especially among girls. Only 12% of 15-year olds like school a lot. Most boys (62%) and girls (69%) feel their school performance is ‘good’ or ‘very good’, but perceived school performance is lower among older pupils. Two fifths (41%) of 11-15 year olds report that they feel ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of pressure from schoolwork. This proportion increases steeply with age, such that 80% of 15-year old girls and 60% of 15-year old boys report schoolwork pressure. The proportion of young people feeling pressured by schoolwork has been rising since 2006, especially among girls. The gender gap in perceived schoolwork pressure is now wider than at any point since 1994. Most young people (62%) report a high level of classmate support, but the proportion is smaller among secondary school pupils. One third (30%) of 11-15 year olds report high teacher support, however this proportion differs substantially between primary and secondary school pupils (53% of 11-year olds versus 21% of 13-year olds and 15% of 15-year olds). Peer relations: The vast majority (95%) of Scottish 13- and 15-year olds have three or more close friends. One in five (21%) young people meet their friends every day after school before 8pm. Most 13- and 15-year olds (88%) say they find it easy to talk to their best friend about things that really bother them. Sixty one percent (61%) of young people report daily contact with their friends using either the phone, texting, email, instant messenger or other social media. Older pupils are more likely to talk to their friends every day via electronic media. Daily electronic media contact is more common among girls (66% versus 56% of boys). Over half of 11-15 year olds (57%) report high level of emotional and practical support from friends, with girls being more likely than boys to report this (65% of girls versus 49% of boys). Neighbourhood environment: More than half of 13- and 15-year olds in Scotland (59%) ‘always’ feel safe in their local area, and one third (30%) feel safe ‘most of the time’, but one in ten (9%) only feel safe ‘sometimes’. Forty two percent (42%) think their local area is a ‘really good’ place to live, but this perception reduces with age, especially among girls. One quarter (26%) of 13-year olds have an overall favourable perception of their local area’s safety and sociability, however this reduces to 19% among 15-year olds. Fifteen percent (15%) report that they use local green space less than once a month during the summer months. Eating habits: Over half of 11-year olds in Scotland eat a meal with family every day (58%) and 42% of 15-year olds do so. Sixty two percent (62%) of young people eat breakfast every weekday. Fruit and vegetables are both consumed daily by 38% of young people and since 2002 there has been a steady increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption. Pupils aged 11 are more likely than 13- and 15-year olds to eat fruit every day. One third (35%) of young people eat sweets or chocolate every day. One fifth (18%) eat crisps daily, but this has been declining since the early 2000s. One in four young people (24%) consume cola or other sugary drinks at least once a day. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour: Fewer than one in five (18%) Scottish young people meet government physical activity guidelines. Boys are more likely than girls to meet these guidelines, with the gender gap being especially pronounced at age 11. Relative to 2010, there has been a small improvement in the proportion of boys and girls meeting physical activity guidelines, however rates have not improved compared to 2002. The percentage of girls participating in vigorous physical activity has gradually increased since 1990, but there has been little change among boys. Almost half of young people (46%) walk to school, but only 4% of boys and 1% of girls travel to school by bicycle. Sixty four percent (64%) of young people watch television for two or more hours every day during the school week, but this has been decreasing steadily since 2002. Sixty five percent (65%) of boys and 46% of girls play computer games for at least 2 hours every weekday. Whilst there has been little change in the prevalence of computer gaming among boys since 2010, there has been a steep increase among girls. Weight control behaviour: Girls in Scotland are twice as likely as boys to be trying to lose weight through dieting (22% of girls versus 10% of boys). Among girls, weight control behaviour increases with age, such that almost one third (31%) of 15-year old girls are actively trying to lose weight. There has been little change since 2002 in the proportion of boys and girls trying to lose weight. Body image and BMI: One quarter of boys (25%) and 41% of girls in Scotland report that they are ‘too fat’. The gender difference in perceived overweight is especially large at age 15, where over half (55%) of girls report that they are too fat, compared to 28% of boys. At ages 13 and 15, boys are around three times more likely than girls to report that they are ‘quite’ or ‘very’ good-looking. The gender gap in perceived looks is now at its widest in the past 24 years, due to girls aged 13 and 15 becoming increasingly less likely since 2002 to report good looks. According to self-reported height and weight, 74% of 15-year olds in Scotland have a normal body mass index (BMI); 14% are overweight/obese, and 12% are underweight. Tooth brushing: Three quarters (77%) of young people in Scotland brush their teeth at least twice daily. Since 1990, there has been a steady increase in the proportion that brush their teeth twice a day. Whilst boys have been less likely than girls to brush their teeth twice a day since 1990, this gender difference has gradually been reducing over this period. Particular improvement in tooth brushing was seen among 15-year old boys over the last 4 years. Well-being: Most Scottish young people report high life satisfaction (87%), but the prevalence reduces with age, especially among girls. The proportion of young people who feel ‘very happy’ also reduces steeply with age (59% of 11-year olds versus 27% of 15-year olds). Feeling confident has been gradually declining among both boys and girls since a peak in 2002. The proportion of 11-15 year olds reporting ‘excellent’ health increased between 2010 (21%) and 2014 (26%). One third (31%) report two or more health complaints at least once a week, with a steep age-related increase among girls. The gender gap in multiple health complaints is now at its widest since 1994, with 39% of girls and 23% of boys reporting two or more weekly complaints. Over half (59%) of 13- and 15-year olds report using medicine in the previous month, with substantially more girls than boys using medicine at age 15. Girls report higher levels of psychological stress than boys, and 15-year olds report greater stress than 13-year olds. Substance use: Over a quarter (28%) of Scottish 15-year olds have tried smoking. At age 13, girls are more likely than boys to have smoked. The prevalence of smoking among 15-year olds has been decreasing substantially since the late 1990s, but 14% of 15-year olds still report that they currently smoke, and many (57%) of these smokers do so at least once a day. Weekly drinking among 15-year olds has also decreased substantially since 1998, however 17% of boys this age and 11% of girls consume alcohol at least once a week. One third (34%) of 15-year olds have been drunk at least twice in their lives. One fifth (18%) of Scottish 15-year olds have used cannabis at least once in their lives, with the prevalence reducing between 2002 and 2014. Sexual health: Between 2010 and 2014, there was a decline in the proportion of 15-year old girls that report having had sex (from 35% to 27%). Of those 15-year olds that report having had sexual intercourse, 24% report first intercourse at 13 years or younger, with boys more likely than girls to report this (34% versus 16%, respectively). Over half (58%) used a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse (with or without birth control pills), but this represents a decrease from 72% in 2010*. Thirteen percent (13%) reported using birth control pills without a condom. One third (29%) used neither a condom nor birth control pills at last intercourse, an increase from 19% in 2010. In 2014, only 16% used both a condom and birth control pills at last intercourse. Bullying and fighting: Fourteen percent (14%) of young people in Scotland report that they have been bullied at school at least twice a month in the past two months. The proportion of young people being bullied increased between 2010 and 2014, especially among girls. One quarter (24%) of 13-year old girls report being bullied at least once via electronic media messages in the past couple of months. Similarly, 18% of 13-year old girls report that they have been bullied via electronic media pictures. Five percent (5%) of girls and 15% of boys report that they have been involved in a physical fight three or more times in the previous year. Since 2002, prevalence of fighting has decreased among boys. Injuries: Half of boys in Scotland (50%) and 40% of girls suffered at least one medically treated injury in the past 12 months. Among boys, there has been a gradual decrease in the prevalence of injury since 2002. Of those boys who were injured, their most serious injury was most likely to occur during a sports or recreational activity (46%). Girls were more likely to be at home when their most serious injury happened (29%). Nearly half (46%) of all young people that were injured in the past year report that their most serious injury required hospital treatment. At age 15, injured boys are more likely than injured girls to have required medical treatment (51% versus 38%).

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Other)
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Inchley, Dr Joanna
Authors: Currie, C., van der Sluijs, W., Whitehead, R., Currie, D., Rhodes, G., Neville, F., and Inchley, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Publisher:Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit (CAHRU)

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