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Survey reveals health habits

25 February 2015

A major health survey has revealed encouraging evidence regarding the smoking and alcohol-drinking behaviour of young Islanders.
To be published in full in March, the Young People’s Health Survey was carried out among Jersey schoolchildren aged 10-15 last year and shows continued improvements of some important behaviours supportive of good health.
Head of Health Improvement for Public Health, Martin Knight is encouraged by the changes in these lifestyle findings. He said "It is particularly good to see the reductions in young people taking up smoking and starting drinking alcohol. These are behaviours that increase the risk of lung cancer and liver disease, both of which are mostly preventable and diseases that Jersey has significantly higher rates of.
“The health behaviours and lifestyles that we develop during our teenage years shape how we behave as adults. These smoking and drinking rates show promise for a future healthier Jersey population.”
The survey, carried out every four years, shows that
  • regular and occasional smoking by 14-15 year olds has decreased from 35 % in 2002 down to 12 % in 2014
  • smoking among 10-13 year olds is now as low as 1 %
Similarly encouraging changes can be seen in drinking behaviours where there are significant increases in the number of young people having never tried alcohol.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Turnbull points to the success of the activity co-ordinated through States of Jersey Alcohol and Tobacco Strategies.
“It is difficult to point to one thing that supports a change in health behaviour; however, the breadth of actions being supported across government departments on both tobacco and alcohol will have played a significant role in these very positive changes in our island’s young people” said Dr Turnbull.
The full survey report with findings across a range of health behaviours including smoking and drinking is due for release in early March.
The young people’s health and lifestyle survey was carried out in spring 2014 across young people aged between 10 and 15 years in 40 local schools.
The survey is answered by students in years 6, 8 and 10. A total of 2,675 responded representing 86% of all young people of these ages in the Island.

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