A report commissioned by West Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership (CHP) during 2006 has revealing some startling facts about 12 to 16 year olds in the West Dumbarton area.
The survey looked into the health and wellbeing of pupils in year groups S1 – S4 at seven schools in the local area and has been used to support local decision-making on health improvements for this age group.
The report highlights the four key public health priorities that need to be addressed as being smoking, alcohol misuse, poor nutrition and physical inactivity, and the findings significantly highlight the importance of local agencies working together with parents or guardians.
Soumen Sengupta, Head of Planning and Health Improvement, West Dunbartonshire CHP, said:
“It is critical that resource commitments are made to meet both health improvement obligations for this age group and to sustain the long-term action necessary locally.
“However, with local multi-agency forums working together, it should ensure that there is a strong emphasis on improving diet and increasing physical activity among this age-group, as well as addressing the issue of alcohol misuse.
“The young people themselves made many positive suggestions, including asking for more physical activity sessions.
“The survey highlighted that girls were not as active as boys and part of our commitment is to provide additional funding to explore with the Health Promoting Schools Unit innovative solutions to get girls more active.
“We will continue to work closely with local schools and West Dunbartonshire council to roll out the Smoke Free Classroom Initiative, provide training around nutrition, and explore effective interventions in relation to binge drinking in young people.
The findings have already been shared with local head teachers of participating schools and the Council’s Education Department.
Liz McGinlay, Executive Director of Education, West Dunbartonshire Council said: "We appreciated the Health Board funding this detailed piece of research which assists us all to gain further information about the general health and wellbeing of our pupils from S1 – S6 in each of our secondary schools.
“Results from the survey and individual questionnaires enable us to look at successful local programmes and plan for improvement in areas where there appears to be a greater need.
“We are able to look at responses from individual schools and also take a council wide perspective. We now have a useful snapshot of a wide range of health indicators in young people in West Dunbartonshire and can put these findings in context in terms of national and local strategies."
Notes to Editors
Just under half of those who took part in the survey engaged in physical activity four or more times per week. However, females were less likely than males to participate in physical activity and levels of physical activity decreased as pupils got older.
Approximately two-thirds did not meet the recommended five-a-day consumption of fruit and vegetables and females and older pupils were more likely to skip breakfast.
Approximately one in ten identified themselves as smokers with the higher proportion being female. The majority of those who reported smoking expressed an interest in quitting.
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