The taxing question of alcohol

"The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, is asking the Treasury to raise the tax on alcopops and other alcoholic drinks favoured by teenagers to price them beyond the reach of young people's earnings or pocket money. Ms Hewitt said there was a real problem of binge drinking among young people which resulted in them 'ending up in the casualty department of hospitals because they are drunk'. However, the Treasury said that her idea was 'not a runner' and pointed out that after a decision in the 2002 budget, alcopops were now taxed at the same rate as spirits."

SHEU views the News

SHEU produces publications, reports and articles throughout the year, and press releases and book announcements may also be listed here.

If you would like someone from SHEU to comment on a news story ring SHEU on 01392 66 72 72.

If you can't find what you are looking for, try the Search facility top right.

Body image and the media


We have known for a long while that "the way you look" is the most common worry for young women aged 14-15 years of age in our UK surveys. We also know that around 60% of girls in this group want to lose weight, which, whatever the obesity statistics are like, is far more than might need to lose weight for medical reasons (indeed, we would expect teenagers to put on weight all the time they are growing). Even some underweight teenagers say they want to lose weight.

Young People's Drinking

There has been a recent local crackdown on young people drinking in public (TEEN DRINKERS IN CRACKDOWN)

We are often asked to comment on young people's drinking.

It must be noted that for the young people in our survey,

* most drinking is in moderate quantities
* most drinking is done at home with knowledge if not approval of parents

Overweight and bullied

We have been seeing in our primary school surveys a proportion of young people who think they are being picked on or bullied because of their size or weight. We don't usually ask this same question in the secondary surveys, but we do ask what are the pupil's height and weight, and from this we can identify overweight, obese and underweight young people.

We also ask these secondary school pupils if they are ever afraid to go to school because of bullying.

Bullying Update

Following Anti-Bullying Week and a news story last month about a girl being physically attacked, we have had more news stories about young people committing suicide after prolonged bullying and further reports of bullying in the armed services. These prompted us to have another look at the figures we hold about bullying: what can we tell about the effects of bullying on the victim?

Our school surveys ask the boys and girls about their perceived levels of bullying, the nature of the bullying, and where it takes place.

Results from two of the questions:

Bullying is a current major concern following recent severe damage to young people at school.

Our surveys, which are used nationwide (and beyond), show quite a range of levels of behaviour from community to community and from school to school. Included in the data collected are levels of fear of being bullied at school, and hence fear of going to school.


Comments about SHEU

Any comments on specific survey questions that may have caused difficulty?
Pupils at our primary school found the questionnaire very easy to understand and most of them completed the questions in less than 45min.


(Our) Senior team were very enthused with the rich source of data provided within the reports (and thought that the analyses including within the appendices section of the main reports were really interesting).

Health Improvement Specialist (Children, Schools and Families)

"You and the team have the evidence to show how young people's behaviour has or hasn't changed over time." 
Tribute from a Health Education Co-ordinator to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Education Co-ordinator

Any comments on specific survey questions that may have caused difficulty? No problems. My children were fully briefed before the survey and they understood that they could miss questions if they did not want to answer them. We did not have any children with any concerns regarding the survey at all.

Any comments on the use of the web site? No it was easy to use.

Any general comments on the exercise? The children really enjoyed completing the survey, It has lead to many positive discussions about our health and how we all have slightly different experiences and home lives.

Class teacher

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your talk at last week's conference.

Chief Executive, substance use charity

"The Schools Health Education Unit is the jewel in the crown of the Health Education Authority." Major General Sir John Acland 1928 - 2006

Major General Sir John Acland

"As a Deputy Head in a large secondary school I was involved in taking part in a city wide health and wellbeing survey over a period of six years. Completing the survey every two years grew in importance year on year, with the final cycle having a major impact on our SDP, PHSE curriculum, Ofsted outcomes and governor understanding.
Over the six year period we moved from a small sample in two tutor groups filling in a paper survey to two year groups completing an online survey. The reports produced give graphical analysis of a wide range of issues. As a result of the survey we increased the number of PSHE workshop days for students to address issues such as smoking, drug and alcohol awareness, anti-bullying workshops. The surveys helped Governors make a positive informed decision to allow Brook Advisory Clinic nurses on site to support students.
As a result of taking part and using the evidence provided we were able to offer more support for students which had a direct impact on improved attendance and outcomes."

Deputy Head Secondary School

"The system works and I find quite a lot of it useful in my work. I've also recommended it to others."

Teenage Pregnancy Manager

...Many thanks for all your work with this year’s survey. It’s already proving to be invaluable especially against the severe cuts in services that are looming.

Health Promotion Manager

"Over the last twenty years you have achieved much. The surveys and subsequent reports have painted the clearest picture we have of what young people are doing and what they think." Tribute from OFSTED to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005