Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being


Title cover from the "Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being" report.


Date of publication:  01 Jan 2016 Authors:  World Health Organization Publisher:  World Health Organization Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, published by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the past thirty years, has just released its latest report. The report, which now includes data on health behaviours from 44 countries and regions accorss North America and Europe, has been an invaluable tool to understanding the wellbeing, health, social conditions, and many other issues that affect 11, 13, and 15 year-old boys and girls.

HBSC focuses on a wide range of health, education, social and family measures that affect young people’s health and wellbeing. Previous reports from the study have highlighted age, geographic and family-affluence factors, and social determinants of health. This sixth international report, which presents data from the 2013/2014 survey, focuses on the effect of gender and socioeconomic differences on the way young people grow and develop.

As is the case with previous HBSC reports, the effects of age and socioeconomic status are also reviewed, building on the latest HBSC data and other scientific evidence to offer recommendations to policy-makers in countries and regions. The report adds to the growing body of evidence for effective interventions to tackle the pervasive effects of social and health inequalities, which are widening between and within countries.

In particular, it provides a lens on two areas that present threats to children and young people’s health and well-being, one very old – migration – and the other very new – cyberbullying. At a time when Europe is witnessing unprecedented patterns of migration, we must remain alert to the health and well-being risks all immigrants, but perhaps particularly children and young people, face when leaving what was once home and moving to a new country. Additionally, technology is unquestionably a positive presence in all our lives, but we must remain vigilant to the threats it poses to children and young people.

(Taken from the Preface)

This study collected its data in participating countries through school based surveys, using a standard methodology. Around 1,500 respondents are chosen at random from each age group, totaling 220,000 total respondents.

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