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.

Latest News

International Youth Day 2023

August 2023

Youth participation work conducted by the HBSC Ireland team is the focus of an article published for International Youth Day 2023.

The article ‘Helping young people direct their own health and well-being through research at WHO Collaborating Centre in Ireland’ reports how the team has involved young people inearly discussions about health strategy development and has offered young people opportunities to take an active role in research, to share expectations, define goals and identify appropriate health-care frameworks to meet their personal needs.

Read the full article on the WHO Europe website

New WHO–HBSC data shed light on COVID-19 pandemic's effects on children and adolescents

June 2023

HBSC Ireland data features in four new reports highlighting the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescednts.

For more information see the WHO website

Coping through crisis: COVID-19 pandemic experiences and adolescent mental health and well-being in the WHO European Region. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people’s health and well-being from the findings of the HBSC survey round 2021/2022 (2023)

Age, gender and class: how the COVID-19 pandemic affected school-aged children in the WHO European Region (2023)

A network of care: the importance of social support for adolescents in the WHO European Region during the COVID-19 pandemic (2023)

Navigating uncharted territory: school closures and adolescent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in the WHO European Region (2023)

Journal article on body weight perception

July 2022 

HBSC Ireland data is included in a new journal article recently published in the journal Child and Adolescent Obesity.

The article co-authored by Colette Kelly, HBSC Ireland team member, examines time trends in body weight perception between 2002 and 2018 among adolescents from 41 countries and regions. It includes gender and counrty differences and explores the role of changes over time in country-level overweight/obesity prevalence in these trends.

Geraets, A.F.J., Cosma, A., Fismen, A.S., Ojala, K., Pierannunzio, D., Kelly, C., Melkumova, M., Vassallo, C., Gudelj Rakic, J., & Heinz, A. (2023). Cross-national time trends in adolescent body weight perception and the explanatory role of overweight/obesity prevalence. Child and Adolescent Obesity, 6(1). DOI: 10.1080/2574254X.2023.2218148

New Growing Up in Ireland report

November 2022

HBSC Ireland data is referenced in the latest Growing Up in Ireland report.  The Changing Social Worlds of 9-Year-Olds compares the experiences of 9-year-olds born a decade apart by drawing on Wave 1 of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) Cohort ’98, conducted in 2007/08, and Wave 5 of GUI Cohort ‘08, conducted in 2017/18. It documents changes in their lives across the domains of relationships with family and peers, day-to-day activities and engagement with formal and informal learning.

New HRB report on alcohol and drug use

September 2022

HBSC Ireland data is included in the latest report in the HRB Overview Series. The report HRB Overview Series 12: Alcohol and other drug use among children and young people in Ireland: prevalence, risk and protective factors, consequences, responses, and policies is now available. The report outlines the prevalence of alcohol and other drug use among young people in Ireland. It examines the risk and protective factors that may encourage or discourage young people to begin using such substances and/or lead to problematic use. It also examines the consequences of drug and alcohol use, such as hospitalisations, deaths, and crime. This overview outlines the responses to drug and alcohol use among young people, including treatment data and the strategies and legislation that guide stakeholders in preventing and minimising harm due to substance use.

NUI Galway Research Impact Case Studies #PurposePeoplePlace

August 2022

HBSC Ireland is featured in the NUI Galway Research Impact Case Studies.

NUIG Research Impact Studies June 2022

For 28 years HBSC Ireland has been recording the health and wellbeing of Ireland’s school-aged children. Read more about the positive impact their research is making on children's lives here.

Watch a video of Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn and Professor Colette Kelly reflcting on HBSC Ireland and its impact.


Recent Publications 

June 2022

Recent publications by the Health Service Executive and the Health Research Board contain HBSC Ireland data:
Health Service Executive (2022). The State of Tobacco Control in Ireland. HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme 2022. Second Report. Dublin: Health Service Executive. download
Health Research Board (2022). Factsheet – Smoking and vaping: the Irish situation. Dublin: Health Research Board. download

Long-term trends in the consumption of sugary and diet soft drinks

An article in the European Journal of Nutrition asssessing the prevalence of daily consumption of sugary (2002–2018) and diet (2006–2018) soft drinks among European adolescents shows a huge fall in the number of Irish teenagers drinking sugar-laden soft drinks on a daily basis. The study, including  HBSC Ireland data,  was conducted across 21 countries. In Ireland in 2002, 37.1pc of teenagers reported consuming a sugary soft drink daily. In 2006, the figure was 26pc, in 2010 it was 20.8pc, in 2014 12pc and in 2018 it had fallen to 6.5pc. 

Read the article:
Chatelan, A., Lebacq, T., Rouche, M., Kelly, C., Fismen, A.S., Kalman, M., Dzielska, A., & Castetbon, K. (2022). Long-term trends in the consumption of sugary and diet soft drinks among adolescents: a cross-national survey in 21 European countires. European Journal of Nutrition.

Read news reports:
Irish teenagers lead way in Europe in saying no to unhealthy sugary drinks - Irish Independent 8th April 2022
Irish teenagers see biggest reduction in sugary drinks consumption, study finds - Irish Times 8th April 2022

Exploring the world of food

April 2022

Exploring the world of food: The perspective of families with children is an new report published by safefood. The study was lead by HBSC Ireland team member Professor Colette Kelly. The overall aim of the project was to explore the factors that influence daily food-related decisions and the strategies that parents and families living on a low income use to buy and prepare food for their families. This report outlines the findings of the research and makes recommendations to address the issues identified.

Children's Research Network Book

March 2022

A new book Child and Youth Participation in Policy, Practice and Research includes a chapter co-authored by HBSC team member Prof. Colette Kelly. The book was launched on Friday 11th March. Colette was one of the speakers at the launch and her presentation Process and impact of involving children in the HBSC Ireland study is avaliable to download.

Change Makers - IUA & RTE Six Part Documentary Series - 2022

The programme featuring HBSC Ireland aired on Monday January 3rd 2022 at 8.30pm on RTE One television.
Watch the clip featuring HBSC Ireland.

View the full episode on RTE PlayerChange Makers Episode 1 


Change Makers TV

The Irish Universities Association has partnered with RTÉ and New Decade TV to bring Ireland’s Change Makers, the most transformative research-led projects and the inspiring people behind them, to Irish television this coming January and February 2022.

The series will showcase the remarkable and lasting public impact of leading research projects by eight universities in Ireland in areas such as children’s health, health technology, education, youth justice, gender equality and inclusion, as well as the environment.

HBSC Ireland is featured in the first episode that will be broadcast from Monday January 3rd 2022 at 8.30pm on RTE One television and the RTE Player. 

 For more information see and

Data Visualisations

December 2021

The HBSC Ireland team have published interactive data visualisations using data from the 2018 Full Variable Report.

HBSC Ireland 2018 Factsheets

December 2021

Factsheets from the 2018 study are now available. These factsheets contain information on school children's health and well-being in Ireland. Each of these factsheets can be viewed in Adobe Reader by just clicking on the links below. To download Adobe Reader to go:

  • Factsheet 1: Smoking behaviour among schoolchildren in Ireland. download
  • Factsheet 2: Exercise among schoolchildren in Ireland. download
  • Factsheet 3: Dieting behaviour among schoolchildren in Ireland. download
  • Factsheet 4: Sweets consumption among schoolchildren in Ireland. download
  • Factsheet 5: Fruit consumption among schoolchildren in Ireland. download
  • Factsheet 6: Bullying behaviour among schoolchildren in Ireland. download