The HBSC is a cross-national study that has been researching health behaviour amongst 11-15 year olds since 30 years! Data is collected every 4 years in 43 different countries and the research is conducted in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office of Europe.
HBSC has just published its 2009/2010 survey data on Social determinants of health and well-being among young people. You can download a full version of the report here . This particular survey covered 39 countries
and regions across Europe and North America, examined more than 60 topics and involved over 200 000 children and young people. Some interesting key findings, demonstrating health inequalities:
- Health patterns vary across countries suggesting that social, cultural and economic contexts
within countries may influence young people’s health and health behaviours and
consequently create health inequalities between countries and regions. Rates of overweight and obesity for girls, for example, range from 30% in the United States to only 5% in Switzerland. Smoking rates, although fairly similar at age 11 (less than 1%), differ dramatically across countries by age 15. Austria and Lithuania show smoking rates of over 25% for 15‐year‐old boys and girls, but the rate is 10% in Norway and Portugal
- Health‐compromising behaviours show increasing prevalence with age and with decreasing
family affluence. For example, 18% of 15‐year‐olds report smoking on a weekly basis and 21% report drinking, with 26% being sexually active
- Boys and girls adopt different healthy and unhealthy behaviours, with some differences
emerging or increasing during adolescence and potentially contributing to gender
inequalities in adulthood. For example, girls are more likely to engage in health‐promoting behaviours such as eating fruit, brushing their teeth and limiting soft drink intake, but almost 10% skip breakfast daily by age 15 and 40% are unsatisfied with their bodies – almost double the rate for boys.
Make sure you read more from this very interesting report! From your experience, which results were expected? And which ones surpriese you?