Should we be worried about teenagers?
WHO/Europe has published the latest report from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, based on interviews with over 200 000 young people. The study collects data and produces an international report every four years on the health, well-being, social environments and health behaviours of 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys and girls.
Professor Candace Currie, the study’s International Coordinator, explains some of its key findings, current trends and how HBSC began.
What are the major trends in the study’s findings?
The continuing focus on issues relating to girls’ body image and dieting from report to report is a concern. A lot of these gender differences appear to be really embedded and persistent, as are the inequalities related to affluence.
Girls tend to rate themselves poorly. They report that they think they’re too fat; they don’t feel very well; they have lower life satisfaction. We also know that, later on, some serious mental health problems emerge for young men, and we don’t know if it’s that girls just express themselves more in their teenage years. Perhaps boys feel unable to explain how they’re feeling, or the prevailing culture is that you don’t complain about how you feel if you’re a boy. There’s quite a lot of debate about what these gender differences really show.
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