Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-National Study (HBSC): Findings from the 2010 HBSC Survey in Scotland

Currie, C., Levin, K., Kirby, J., Currie, D., van der Sluijs, W. and Inchley, J. (2011) Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-National Study (HBSC): Findings from the 2010 HBSC Survey in Scotland. Other. Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit (CAHRU), Edinburgh, UK.

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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 2010 and trends across some or all six consecutive surveys in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 are included. Over 6700 pupils were sampled in the most recent Scottish survey of 2010. The main findings are summarised below. Family life: The majority of young people in Scotland (66%) live with both their parents, while 21% live with just one parent (19% with their mother and 2% with their father), 11% live in a step family, and 2% live in a variety of other care arrangements. Most children living with both parents (76%) report that both are in employment, and a further 21% have one parent in employment. Among children from single parent families, 74% report their parent to be in employment. Over half of young people (55%) think their family is quite or very well off, with larger proportions at younger ages. The proportion of young people reporting that their family is very well off has increased between 1998 and 2010. Young people find it easier to talk to their mother (80%) than to their father (63%) and ease of communication with parents (particularly fathers) deteriorates with age. Boys and girls find it equally easy to talk to their mother about things that bother them but boys are more likely than girls to report easy communication with their father. The school environment: A quarter of young people (25%) like school ‘a lot’ and 64% feel their classmates are kind and helpful, and these proportions are greater among younger adolescents. 69% of pupils rate their school performance highly relative to their classmates and this proportion is greater for younger adolescents. One in five 11-year olds (22%) and over half of 15-year olds (54%) feel pressured by schoolwork. At ages 11 and 13, girls are more likely than boys to report that they like school a lot, but there is no gender difference at age 15. At age 11, girls are more likely than boys to rate their school performance highly relative to their peers and to report that their classmates are kind and helpful, but there are no gender differences at the older ages. At age 11, boys are more likely than girls to report that they are pressured by schoolwork, but at ages 13 and 15 this is more common among girls. Peer relations: Boys are more likely than girls to spend time with friends immediately after school, and at age 15, boys are more likely than girls to spend time with friends in the evening. Frequent contact with friends after school and in the evening has declined between 2002 and 2010. Most young people (88%) say they find it easy to talk to their best friend about things that really bother them (93% of girls and 84% of boys), with greater proportions of older than younger children. Half of young people (52%) contact their friends daily via phone, text messages and/or the internet. Electronic media contact is more common among girls than boys, and among older rather than younger adolescents. Neighbourhood environment: Half of young people (51%) always feel safe in their local area, (53% of boys and 48% of girls), and a further 38% feel safe most of the time. A third of young people think their local area is a really good place to live, (36% of boys and 31% of girls), with larger proportions at age 13. Half of young people agree that there are good places to go locally and two thirds feel they trust people in their local area, with larger proportions at age 13. At age 15, both boys and girls are less likely to have a favourable perception of their local area. 15-year old girls use green space less frequently and for shorter periods compared with 13-year old girls or boys of either age. Eating habits: Almost three quarters of young people (72%) eat a meal with their family four or more days a week and almost two thirds (63%) eat breakfast every school day. The frequency of family meals and breakfast consumption is greater among younger adolescents. 36% of young people eat fruit daily and 36% eat vegetables daily, with higher proportions of girls eating fruit and vegetables daily than boys. The proportion of young people eating fruit daily is greater among younger adolescents, while there is no age difference in consumption of vegetables. Girls and boys are equally likely to eat sweets (29%), crisps (21%) or chips (8%) daily. Between 2002 and 2010, daily sweet consumption fell by a third while consumption of crisps and chips halved. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour: 19% of boys and 11% of girls meet the Scottish Government guidelines for moderate to vigorous physical activity. Older boys and girls take part in vigorous exercise less often than younger boys and girls. Duration of exercise is greater among older boys, but remains the same among girls across all ages. Approximately half of young people in Scotland walk to school and walking to school is more common among primary than secondary school children. Primary school children watch TV less often during the week than secondary pupils with no gender differences in watching TV at any age. TV viewing on week days has decreased since 2002 but TV viewing at the weekend has remained stable. Boys play computer games more often than girls at all ages. Computer use for purposes other than games is higher among secondary girls than boys during the week and at the weekend. Weight control behaviour: Girls are twice as likely as boys to be on a diet or doing something else to lose weight (21% and 10% respectively). Older girls are more likely than younger girls to try to control their weight, whilst there is no age difference among boys. There was no change in the proportions of boys and girls on a diet between 2002 and 2010. Body image and BMI: A quarter of boys and two fifths of girls report that they feel too fat. 37% of boys and 24% of girls consider themselves to be good looking. Young people’s views of their physical appearance and body size are less favourable at ages 13 and 15 than at age 11. The proportion of boys reporting that they are too fat increased between 1990 and 2010. Three quarters of 15-year olds are classified as having a normal weight according to their BMI and 3% are classified as being obese. Tooth brushing: Girls are more likely than boys to brush their teeth at least twice a day (81% compared with 66%). There has been a steady increase from 1990 to 2010 in the proportion of boys and girls who brush their teeth two or more times a day. The greatest increases were found among boys and 11-year olds. Well-being: The majority of young people (87%) are satisfied with their life, 44% are very happy, 22% never feel left out of things, 17% always feel confident and 21% rate their health as excellent. 29% of young people have multiple health complaints and 55% have used medicine in the previous month. Boys fare better than girls on all seven measures of well-being. Life satisfaction, confidence, self-rated health and happiness are higher among younger age groups, while multiple health complaints and medicine use are lower. Happiness, confidence and never feeling left out increased between 1994 and 2006, while multiple health complaints decreased. Between 2006 and 2010, however, boys’ and girls’ happiness and xgirls’ confidence have decreased, while there has been no change in the proportions never feeling left out or having multiple health complaints. Substance use: One in five young people have tried smoking, and 9% of girls and 8% of boys report that they smoke at present. At age 15, 59% of current smokers report that they smoke every day. Smoking behaviour among young people increased in the 1990’s but smoking rates have since fallen to those of 1990. The gender gap in smoking that appeared in the late 90s, with girls smoking more than boys is no longer apparent. One in ten 13-year olds and more than one in four 15-year olds drink alcohol at least once a week. Boys are most likely to drink beer, while girls prefer spirits and alcopops. Weekly drinking among young people increased in the 1990’s but weekly drinking rates have since returned to those of 1990. 19% of 15-year olds and 4% of 13-year olds have used cannabis. There was a considerable drop in cannabis use among 15-year olds between 2002 and 2010, observed among former, experimental, regular and heavy users. Sexual health: Friends and schools rank first and second as primary sources of information on sexual matters for both boys and girls. Compared with 2006, boys are more likely to source information on sexual matters from the internet and less likely to get information from school. Approximately three quarters of 15-year olds report that it is easiest to discuss personal and sexual matters with friends. Almost a third of 15-year olds say that they have had sexual intercourse, with girls (35%) more likely to report sexual intercourse than boys (27%). The proportion of 15-year olds who used a condom during last intercourse increased between 2002 and 2006, from 70% to 79%, but has since dropped to 72% in 2010. Bullying and fighting: 9% of young people have been bullied at least two or three times a month at school in the previous two months, although prevalence of bullying is lowest among 15-year olds (6%). 5% of young people report having bullied others in the past couple of months (7% of boys and 2% of girls). The proportion of boys involved in a physical fight three or more times in the previous 12 months decreased between 2002 and 2010, from 23% to 17%. Fighting is more prevalent among younger than older boys. Injuries: Almost half of young people (47%) have received an injury requiring medical attention in the past 12 months. Boys are more likely to be injured than girls.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Other)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Inchley, Dr Joanna
Authors: Currie, C., Levin, K., Kirby, J., Currie, D., van der Sluijs, W., 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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