cares alcohol-and-health adolescent-mental-wellbeing-declining

Adolescent mental wellbeing declining

A new report from the International Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) published by the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the health and social behaviours of schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15, from 45 countries, shows that mental well-being declines as children grow older, with girls particularly at risk of having poor mental well-being outcomes compared to boys.

“That increasing numbers of boys and girls across the European Region are reporting poor mental health – feeling low, nervous or irritable – is a concern for us all,”
says Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe in WHO’s press release.

The report presents the findings from the survey in countries of the European Region and Canada and is undertaken every four years. Some of the key results from this latest study include that risk-taking behaviour, nutrition and physical inactivity are still core challenges. There is also significant variation in mental well-being across countries.

Drinking has continued to decline among adolescents but is still the most commonly used substance with almost three in five have drunk alcohol in their lifetime. The prevalence of alcohol use varied across countries with the proportion of adolescents, Denmark and Greece, had the highest levels of both lifetime and current alcohol use at age 15, while Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan had the lowest.

The prevalence of lifetime and recent alcohol use increased with age in both genders in almost all countries, between ages 11-15 from 19% to 60% among boys and from 10% to 59% among girls. Overall, boys were more likely than girls to have drunk alcohol in their lifetime. The prevalence of current (last 30 days) alcohol use was also higher for boys (20%) than girls (18%).

The study also finds more social patterns for alcohol use compared to smoking and marihuana. Adolescents from higher-affluence families were more likely to report having consumed alcohol in their lifetime and also have higher levels of current alcohol consumption. No country showed the opposite pattern.

There has been a small decline in lifetime alcohol use among adolescents since 2014, but overall levels of current alcohol use remained stable. Adolescence is a critical period in human development when the risks associated with substance use are unusually high and should be used as a productive time to address and reduce risk factors for noncommunicable diseases such as alcohol.

Read the study: 


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