Teen life-style survey

The annual survey of young people in West Sussex has revealed one in ten youngsters are binge drinkers and one in ten girls are regular smokers.

The survey questioned 3,500 14 and 15-year-olds across the county.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Almost 60% of boys and 45% of girls perceive themselves to be in good health.
  • Three out of four pupils perceive their diet to be healthy. Although one out of ten girls and one out of five boys did not consider themselves to be active.
  • More than 10% of girls and 8% of boys say they are regular smokers by the age of 15, although almost 35% say they have never smoked.
  • Almost two out of three pupils say they occasionally or regularly drink alcohol, and more than 10% say they drink to get drunk.
  • However, of those that do drink, only 20% drink more than once a week, and they mostly drink at home or at a friend’s house.
  • 26% of pupils say they see themselves as overweight. In addition girls were more likely than boys to consider themselves to be overweight (30.3% and 21.6% respectively).
  • At least 40% of all pupils watched between 1-3 hours of TV most days.
  • A fifth of pupils had been bullied in the past year, although 81% of bullying in schools was verbal rather than other forms, such as physical or cyber-bullying.

Judith Wright, Joint Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at NHS West Sussex and West Sussex County Council, told Heart: “Improving the health and wellbeing of the children and young people in West Sussex is a key priority for us.

"We know that many young people have lifestyles which put them at risk of poor health in the future but this survey gives us information to help tackle that. We hope we can use it to further develop our services so they meet the needs of young, in places where they need them.”