SHEU : nationally-recognised, since 1977,
as the specialist provider of reliable local survey data about young people's health and wellbeing
TWENTY EIGHTH YEAR OF DATA ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE [SUMMARY]
Example page : Perceptions of fitness
66% of 10-11 year old females think they are 'fit' or 'very fit'. This falls to 25% by the time they reach 14-15 years of age
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This report, Young People into 2014, is a "unique contemporary archive" of young people from the Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU). Each year, since 1977, SHEU carry out healthy lifestyle surveys with young people and, in 2013, this involved over 58,000 youngsters. This report contains over 100 health-related behaviour questions and answers from over 30,000 pupils between the ages of 10 and 15. They tell us about what they do at home, at school, and with their friends. The data have been collected from primary and secondary schools across England. The report is the 28th in the series.
What's new and different in Young People into 2014?
Some of the differences are not new – they are continuations of trends that we have seen going on for some time.
Dr David Regis, Research Manager of the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
“We saw a peak of young people's use of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis in the mid-1990s, and since then there has been a general decline in use. We have seen a shift too in their perceptions of the dangers of cannabis. Whether they have been deterred from experimentation by good drugs education or have been attracted to other pastimes – perhaps online – we cannot tell from these figures, but it's good news regardless."
“We have always been concerned about the emotional wellbeing of young people. A while ago we took stock of young people's emotional wellbeing as seen in our figures (SHEU, 2005). At the time, we were fairly sanguine, as we thought that, while different worries came and went, young people's self-esteem was holding up well and even increasing. We suspect that this is no longer the case: the data series shows a peak in the percentage of Year 10 females scoring in the highest bracket of self-esteem scores in 2007, but the figures in that group have since declined (see p.96).”
Chart: Percentage of young people scoring in highest bracket of self-esteem scores,1985-2013, SHEU aggregate figures, by age and sex
SHEU (2005). Trends: Young People and Emotional Health and Well-Being (incorporating Bullying), 1983-2003. Exeter: SHEU.
Angela Balding, Survey Manager at the Schools Health Education Unit, says,
“The rising trend of self-esteem from 1997-2007 stopped in 2008, and the figures we are seeing for high self-esteem in 2013 are generally lower now. The 2008 date coincides with the economic recession, so that's a plausible explanation of what we see – but we are also aware of new pressures about being online and of online bullying. We can also see among the pupils with low self-esteem that they are much more likely than their peers to have experienced bullying at or near school in the last year. We don't know if that's because bullying causes a drop in self-esteem, or if pupils with low self-esteem are more likely to be picked on, or both."
14-15 yr olds and links between behaviours and characteristics
We have also this year shown more of the types of analysis we are often asked to do in local authorities, that is, showing links between behaviours and links between behaviours and demographic characteristics. We have been able to show:
- Year 10 pupils who have free school meals are less likely to want to stay in full-time education after Year 11 than are their peers (p.37)
- Year 10 males who have a mixed ethnic heritage are more likely to use substances than are their peers (p.40)
- Year 10 pupils who are young carers are less likely to have seen a dentist in the last 6 months than are their peers (p.36)
- Year 10 pupils who are lesbian, gay or bisexual are more likely to report having been bullied at or near school in the last year than are their peers (and are more likely to report using substances) (p.103)
- Year 10 pupils who are religious are less likely to have tried smoking than are their peers (p.102)
- Year 10 pupils who have a disability are less likely to have tried smoking than are their peers (but are more likely to report having been bullied at or near school in the last year) (p.35)
We can see these behaviours, therefore, not as isolated items in a questionnaire, but as parts of young people's lives embedded in a social and cultural matrix.”
Dr Regis says,
“The landscape in which we work continues to evolve and make life more interesting. The synergy between public health and education within local authorities is tangible and encouraging. We are being pushed to develop our services in different directions and to explore new topics.
As regards the aggregate data sets from which we publish this series of reports, they have become more complex and busy. We have seen some items dropped from the report, as too few clients chose those questions for their surveys, while a few items have been added to the reports. There are new items for this 2014 report about personal background; e-safety; second-hand smoke; perceptions of drugs; barriers to exercise; responses to problems and sexuality and we have had a brief look at religion and belief (p.102).
For these reasons, we have taken another look at the representativeness of the data sets from which we derive our figures. We compared the profile of the schools in our data sets with what we can see in the country as a whole, and we were pleasantly surprised by the similarity. This confirms what we concluded a decade ago through a similar study: that the SHEU data sets are reasonably well-matched to the national population of schools.”
CHAPTER 1 - Food choices & weight control
- In the sample, 62% of 14-15 year old females, 53% of 12-13 year old females and 33% of 10-11 year old females 'would like to lose weight'. This compares with 27% of 14-15 year old males, 32% of 12-13 year old males and 27% of 10-11 year old males who 'would like to lose weight'
- 14% of Year 10 females have 'nothing at all to eat or drink for breakfast this morning' and 20% had nothing for lunch on the previous day
- Less fresh fruit and vegetables are eaten as pupils get older and up to 55% report eating 1-3 portions of fruit and vegetables. 16% of 14-15 yr. olds and 27% of 10-11 yr. olds report eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables 'yesterday'
- Up to 78% of 12-15 year olds reported drinking less than 1 litre of water
CHAPTER 2 - Doctor & Dentist
- Up to 26% of the 12-15 year old females, reported feeling 'quite uneasy' or 'very uneasy' on their last visit to the doctor
CHAPTER 3 - Health & Safety
- Most 12-15 year olds report sleeping 8 or more hours ‘last night’. There is a strong relationship between sleep patterns and a number of variables. For example, for 14-15 year old females, the more sleep they get they are less likely to: want to lose weight; worry ‘a lot’ and feel afraid about going to school due to bullying
- Up to 24% of young people say that safety after dark in their area is 'poor' or 'very poor'
- Up to 85% say they have been advised how to stay safe while chatting online
- Up to 12% have been a victim of violence in their area
- 31% of 10-11 yr. old females feel afraid (at least 'sometimes') of going to school because of bullying
CHAPTER 4 - Family & Home
- As they get older, fewer pupils report living with both parents
- Up to 43% of the 10-15 year olds walk, at least some of the way, to school
- More females than males did homework on the evening before the survey, and they tended to spend longer at it. 30% of the 14-15 year old males did no homework at all 'yesterday'
- Up to 84% of males played computer games after school 'yesterday'
CHAPTER 5 - Legal & Illegal Drugs
- Since the mid-1990s there has been a general decline in the percentage of 14-15 year olds who smoke regularly. Around 97% of 10-11 year olds say they have never smoked. This figure drops to 66% (males) and 60% (females) by the time they are 14-15 years old. Around 35% of 12-15 year olds live in a 'smoky' home. 22% of 14-15 year old girls reported smoking and 27% reported drinking alcohol 'in the last 7 days'
- Around 50% of the 14-15 year olds are 'fairly sure' or 'certain' that they know a drug user. Up to 9% of 14-15 year olds have mixed drugs and alcohol 'on the same occasion'
- Up to 14% of 14-15 year olds report taking cannabis and, as they get older, fewer pupils think that cannabis is 'always unsafe'
CHAPTER 6 - Exercise & Sport
- Over 92% of the sample of 10-15 year olds report exercising at least on one day 'last week'. At least 73% of all males and 74% of 10-11 year old females report exercising vigorously on 3 or more days 'last week'
- 66% of 10-11 year old females think they are 'fit' or 'very fit'. This falls to 25% by the time they reach 14-15 years of age
- Since 1991, there is a downward trend for some pupils reporting they are 'fit/very fit'
CHAPTER 7 - Social & Personal
- 'School-work problems' are a worry for 14-15 year old females and 'the way you look' remains the main worry for 12-15 year old females
- 67% of 14-15 year old females, compared with 52% of 14-15 year old males, want to continue with full-time education after Year 11
- Statements from the 'Every Child Matters' section show a marked difference between the positive responses from primary and secondary pupils e.g. responses to, 'The school helps me work as part of a team' drop from around 63% (10-11 year-olds) to around 36% (14-15 year-olds)
- Younger (12-13 year-old) males continue to be the most satisfied group when 12-15 year olds are asked about how they feel about their life 'at the moment
CHAPTER 8 - Some responses from primary-age children that are not contained in Chapters 1-7
- Up to 22% of 10-11 year olds report being picked on for 'the way they look'
- 28% of 10-11 year olds report being approached by an adult who scared them or made them upset
1. SHEU is an independent research, survey and publishing company and the 'Young People into 2014' report is the 28th in the series and based on the work of one of its divisions - The Schools Health Education Unit. The Unit provides reliable baseline data for local needs assessment to inform plans in health, education and care.
2. The accumulated databank from the hundreds of school surveys we support each year, involving tens of thousands of young people, is a valuable resource of information and provides many opportunities for research. But we caution against simple reporting and interpretation of our figures as being from 'a national survey'.
3. We compared the profile of the schools in our data sets with what we can see in the country as a whole (see above), and we were pleasantly surprised by the similarity. This confirms what we concluded a decade ago through a similar study: that the SHEU data sets are reasonably well-matched to the national population of schools.