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HEALTH BEHAVIOUR IN SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN (HBSC) IRELAND
World Health Organization Collaborative Cross-National Study
The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey is a WHO collaborative cross-national study that monitors the health behaviours, health outcomes and social environments of school-aged children every four years. HBSC Ireland surveys school-going children aged 9-18 years. The study is conducted by the HBSC Ireland team, based at the Health Promotion Research Centre, University of Galway.
The 2014 HBSC Ireland Report was launched by Health Minister Leo Varadkar, on Wednesday 9 December 2015.
Download the full report here:
Gavin, A., Keane, E., Callaghan, M., Molcho, M., Kelly, C. & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2015). The Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study 2014. Dublin: Department of Health & Galway: Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway. download (722KB)
A total of 230 primary and post primary schools took part with 13,611 children completing the questionnaire.
We would like to extend a big thank you to all of the children, their schools and parents for taking part in the 2014 HBSC study. Without your participation and time the study would not have been such a success.
A copy of the launch presentation by Aoife Gavin is also available to download (8,168KB)
Download the press release download (19KB)
Our Frequently Asked Questions page has further information on HBSC Ireland.
A full list of publications, articles and presentations containing HBSC Ireland data can be found on the publications & reports page.
Overall, reported levels of general health remained stable between 2010 (32%) and 2014 (34%).
A number of child-developed indicators were included for the first time. These were self-confidence, feeling comfortable with friends, love of family and participation in hobbies.
There was an overall decrease from 2010 to 2014 in reported levels of ever smoking (16% in 2014 vs 28% in 2010) and drunkenness (21% in 2014 vs 31% in 2010). There was an increase in levels of never drinking (58% in 2014 vs 52% in 2010).
Additional questions on exposure to second-hand smoke and access to cigarettes were included for the first time. Exposure to second-hand smoke was common at home and in the family car. Many children reported that it is easy to buy cigarettes or get someone else to buy cigerattes for them in most shops in the area where they live and go to school.
Food and dietary behaviour
Overall, 23% of children report that they consume fruit more than once a day (20% in 2010) and 22% report eating vegetables more than once a day (20% in 2010).
The percentage of children who report eating sweets (27%) and drinking soft drinks (13%) daily or more has decreased since 2010. Overall, 13% of children report that they never have breakfast during weekdays and this remains unchanged from 2010 (13%).
The proportion of children who report they ever go to school or to bed hungry because there is no food at home remains stable:21% in 2010 versus 22% in 2014.
Overall, 16% of chidren report trying to lose weight, an overall increase from 2010 (13%).
Children were asked to report, for the first time, on what influences their body image. The most frequently cited factors were peers, the media and self-perception.
Exercise and physical activity
Overall, reported levels of vigorous exercise remainted stable between 2014 and 2010 with 52% of children exercising vigorously four or more times a week (50% in 2010).
A new indicator on club participation was included in the 2014 survey with 66% of 10 to 14 year olds reporting playing with a club,
Overall, 70% of children reported brushing their teeth more than once a day this remains stable from 2010 (68%).
Reported seatbelt usage also remained stable between 2014 (81%) and 2010 (82%).
Fighting and Bullying
The overall proportion of children who reported being in a physical fight has decreased (29% in 2014 vs 34% in 2010).
Children who reported bullying others in school has decreased (13% in 2014 vs 16% in 2010) while those who reported ever been bullied remained stable (25% in 2014 vs 24% in 2010).
New questions on aspects of cyber bullying were included and more girls and older children report being victims of cyber bullying.
Sexual Health Behaviours
DISSEMINATIONFindings from HBSC Ireland 2014 are distributed in reports, journal articles, factsheets and presentations to various interest groups. Information on some key publications can be found under the tabs below and a full list of publications and articles etc. can be found on the publications page.
Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2014.
The HBSC Ireland report Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2014: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study was launched on 30 May 2017 by Deputy Marcella Corcran Kennedy T.D., Minister of State for Health Promotion at the Department of Health.
The report explores the trends in the health and wellbeing of children in Ireland between 1998 and 2014. To date, HBSC Ireland has collected data from 49,268 school-aged children aged 10-17 years across the Republic of Ireland. The report describes the self-reported health status of children in Ireland over time in relation to key indicators: health behaviours, health outcomes and the contexts of their lives. Internationally comparable trends data are also included.
Download the report:
Keane, E., Gavin, A., Perry, C., Molcho, M., Kelly, C. & Nic Gabhainn, S. (2017). Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2014: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study. Dublin: Department of Health & Galway: Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland, Galway. download (3.01MB)
Download a copy of the presentation given by Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn at the launch download (2.85MB)
View the short video highlighting aspects of the report https://www.facebook.com/nuigalway/videos/10154957303399079/
2014 factsheets are available to download:
- Smoking behaviour among schoolchildren in Ireland. download (457KB)
- Drunkenness among schoolchildren in Ireland. download (424KB)
- Dieting behaviour among schoolchildren in Ireland. download (427KB)
- Exercise among schoolchildren in Ireland. download (435KB)
- Sexual behaviour among schoolchildren in Ireland. download (464KB)
These factsheets comprise two page summaries of some of the key findings from the most recent HBSC survey.
See the HBSC International website http://www.hbsc.org/ for more HBSC International publications.
2014 HBSC international report: Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people's health and well-being published
The HBSC international report from the 2013/2014 survey is now available. The report Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people's health and well-being provides data from 42 countries in Europe and North America. Findings are presented on the demographic and social influences on the health of almost 220,000 young people.
The cross-national survey covers diverse aspects of adolescent health and social behaviour, including self-assessment of mental health; obesity and body image; dietary habits; engagement in physical activity; support from families and peers; tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use; and bullying.
This report has a special focus on the effects of gender and socioeconomic differences on the way that young people grow and develop. Responding to the survey, young people described their social context (relations with family, peers and school), health outcomes (subjective health, injuries, obesity and mental health), health behaviour (patterns of eating, tooth brushing and physical activity) and risk behaviours (use of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis, sexual behaviour, fighting and bullying). For the first time, the HBSC report also includes items on family and peer support, migration, cyberbullying and serious injuries.
Data presented in this report can be accessed at the WHO European Health Information Gateway and via the WHO European health statistics application for iOS and Android devices.
Further information can be found on the WHO/Europe website
WHO Europe have published a new Fact Sheet on adolescent sexual health based on the 2013/2014 HBSC data. The Fact Sheet presents key facts and figures from the 2013/2014 survey along with a comparison to the 2009/2010 survey.
The Sexual Health Fact Sheet is available in English and Russian from the WHO Europe website.
International Fact Sheets from the 2013/2014 survey are also available for the following topics:
Alcohol Bullying and Physical Fights Dietary Habits
Mental Well-being Physical Activity Tobacco
These Fact Sheets are available to download in various languages from the WHO Europe website.
In addition to the national and international reports HBSC Ireland 2014 data has been used in the following government and other health organisations reports:
Trends and inequalities in adolescent alcohol behaviours across Europe
A new report launched on September 26th by the World Health Organisation European Office includes data from HBSC Ireland on alcohol use among schoolchildren in Ireland between 2002 and 2014. Overall the report demonstrates that alcohol consumption, early initiation and drunkeness are decreasing across Europe and that there are fewer gender differences in alcohol behaviour than in the past. Of particular relevance are very substantial (around 20%) reductions in drunkeness among adolescents in Ireland between 2002 and 2014.
“To ensure the successes achieved so far are maintained, governments are urged to adopt approaches which engage the population at all ages. In addition, more efforts are needed, particularly in countries where the rate of change has been slow. Investments in adolescent health pay off with a triple dividend of benefits for adolescents – now, for their future adult lives and for the next generation.” Carina Ferreira Borges | WHO Regional Office for Europe Programme Manager for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs
The full report can be downloaded from https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/382840/WH15-alcohol-report-eng.pdf
Youth Smoking in Ireland: a special analysis of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study
This report prepared on behalf of the Tobacco Free Ireland Programme, Health Service Executive was launched at the Tobacco Free Ireland Partners Conference held to mark World No Tobacco Day (31 May 2018). Read the full report Youth Smoking in Ireland - A Special Analysis of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study.
A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents
A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents uses the most current data to shed light on four specific forms of violence: violent discipline and exposure to domestic abuse during early childhood; violence at school; violent deaths among adolescents; and sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. HBSC Ireland data on bullying is included in this report.
The statistics reveal that children experience violence across all stages of childhood, in diverse settings, and often at the hands of the trusted individuals with whom they interact on a daily basis. Ensuring that violence in all its forms is recognized as a fundamental violation of children’s human rights and documented through solid data is a first step towards its elimination.
United Nations Children’s Fund. (2017). A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents. New York: UNICEF. download
For more information see:
UNICEF: A Familiar Face
UNICEF report on children and the sustainable development goals
HBSC Ireland data is included in the latest Report Card issued by UNICEF. Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Delevopment Goals in Rich Countries is the first report to assess the status of children in 41 high-income countries in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified as most important for child well-being. It ranks countries based on their performance and details the challenges and opportunities that advanced economies face in achieving global commitments to children.
The report is available to download from the UNICEF website.
Download the press release download or watch the video
Adolescent obesity and related behaviours: trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002–2014
HBSC Ireland data features in the new WHO report Adolescent obesity and related behaviours: trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002–2014. The report presents the latest trends in obesity, eating behaviours, physical activity and sedentary behaviour from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study, and highlights gender and socioeconomic inequalities across the WHO European Region.
Trends have previously been reported separately, but this report brings together for the first time HBSC data on obesity and obesity-related behaviours to review the latest evidence and consider the range and complexity of factors influencing childhood obesity.
Download a copy of the report:
Inchley J et al. eds. Adolescent obesity and related behaviours: trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002–2014. Observations from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) WHO collaborative cross-national study. Copenhagen, WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2017.at: www.euro.who.int/en/hbsc-obesity-report
Charts and maps published in this report are available for download. Please cite as above.
Also available is the methods annex which provides information on the indicators and analyses used in the report, as well
as directing readers to more in-depth resources for further information download.
Smoke-free spaces on the island of Ireland - Snapshot Report
HBSC Ireland data features in the report from the Institute of Public Health in Ireland. Smoke-free spaces on the island of Ireland - Snapshot Report presents a brief overview of progress on the development of smoke-free spaces on the island of Ireland. This snapshot updates on an earlier document published in June 2016.
State of the Nation's Children: Ireland 2016
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD published the State of the Nation's Children Report: Ireland 2016 on 6th March 2017. This is the sixth such report since 2006, and was compiled by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with data contributions from a broad range of government departments, agencies and research organisations, including HBSC Ireland. The State of the Nation's Children: Key Findings Ireland 2016 is also available.
Physical Activity Strategy 2016-2025
This physical activity strategy contains HBSC data and was prepared in the light of the existing voluntary global targets set out in the WHO Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013–2020, endorsed by the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly in May 2013. The strategy focuses on physical activity as a leading factor in health and well-being in the European Region, with particular attention to the burden of noncommunicable diseases associated with insufficient activity levels and sedentary behaviour. It aims to cover all forms of physical activity throughout the life-course.
The report is available to down load from the WHO Europe website.
HBSC and UNICEF shed light on growing inequality among children in high income countries
This UNICEF report includes analysis and data from the HBSC study. It presents evidence on how inequality affects children in high income countries.
Innocenti Report Card 13, Fairness for Children: A league table of inequality in child well- being in rich countries, ranks 41 EU and OECD countries according to how far children at the bottom of the distribution fall below their peers in the middle. The report looks at bottom end inequality of income, educational achievement, self-reported health and life satisfaction.
The report is available to download in: English / French / Italian / Spanish
Also available to download is the HBSC background paper.
Health in Ireland Key Trends 2015
HBSC Ireland 2014 data is included in Health in Ireland Key Trends 2015, which gives insights into trends in demographics, population health, hospital and primary care and health service employment and expenditure. This is the eighth edition of this easy-to-use reference guide to significant trends in health and health care over the past decade, including population and health status, as well as trends in service provision. This year, new tables, maps and graphs have been included on some specific topics or where new data has been made available. download