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.


General health

Substance use

Food and dietary behaviour

Exercise and physical activity



Fighting and Bullying

Sexual Health Behaviours


Findings 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.

HBSC Ireland Trends report 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

2014 Factsheets

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 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 

International Factsheets

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

2018 WHO alcohol trendsA 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

Youth Smoking in Ireland: a special analysis of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study

2018 youth smoking - special analysis of HBSC

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 UNICEF report on violence against childrenA 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
Key Findings
Data visualisation

UNICEF report on children and the sustainable development goals

2017 UNICEF report card 14 cover

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


2017 WHO Obesity Report
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, 2002–2014Observations from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) WHO collaborative cross-national study. Copenhagen, WHO Regional Office for Europe,

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

2017 SONC coverThe 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