The latest WHO report Health Behaviour of School-Aged Children (HSBC) 2009/2010 on Social Determinants of Health of Young People shows widespread inequalities in child and adolescents’ health in the European and North American region. The report gives policy-makers an opportunity to act and secure the health of the next generation.
This unique report presents a comprehensive picture of young people’s health and well-being, and is vital as a sound body of evidence on which to base policy in fields having the major impact on their situation.
The report gives the results of the 2009/2010 HBSC survey, covering 39 countries and regions across the European Region and North America, as it analyses collected data from 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds on 60 topics related to their health and well-being, social environments and behaviour.
The key message to take out of the HBSC study towards policy-makers is that "addressing the social determinants of health inequalities in childhood and adolescence can enable young people to maximize their health and well-being, ensuring that these inequalities do not extend into adulthood, with all the potential negative consequences for individuals and society."
In particular, the report discusses:
important cross-national inequalities and differences;
long-term effects of child and adolescent health - health inequalities emerge or worsen during childhood and adolescence, and may translate into lasting inequalities in adulthood;
gender differences - boys and girls display different patterns of healthy and unhealthy behaviour;
family affluence - unsurprisingly, family affluence is associated with a healthier lifestyle: higher levels of fruit intake, breakfast consumption and physical activity;
protective factors - support from family, classmates and community protects young people from negative influences;
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