Child and teenage lifestyles
We want children growing up in the borough to develop healthy lifestyle habits. Poor health outcomes in adults are often related to lifestyle factors adopted in childhood. This includes health behaviours such as smoking, alcohol, physical activity, diet and obesity.
Lifestyle issues in young people
The increases in the rate of childhood obesity are a concern. 23 per cent of children in Year 6 were obese in 2016/17 (National Child measurement Programme). Conversely, rates of smoking in young people have been falling with around 7 per cent of 15 year olds in the borough smoking (What About YOUth Survey 2015). The 2016 Health Related Behaviour Survey revealed that 29 per cent of Year 10s drink alcohol and the proportion of children eating 5 portions of fruit and veg is low (boys 18 per cent and girls per cent%).
Keeping children healthy
To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do 3 types of physical activity each week: aerobic exercise and exercises to strengthen bones and muscles. Children aged 5–18 should do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day and reduce the time spent watching TV or playing video games.
Parents should help them to follow the Eatwell guide so that they consume the appropriate amount of food from each food group and limit the number of sugary sweets and snacks they eat.
Risky lifestyle behaviours in young people
Smoking in childhood has consequences now and in adulthood. Children who start smoking at the youngest ages are more likely to smoke heavily and find it harder to give up as well as being at the greatest risk of developing smoking-related conditions.
Similarly, alcohol and drug use are one of the leading risk factors for the burden of disease in the UK and can negatively impact friendships, relationships with their parents and educational performance.
Statistics on lifestyle behaviours in young people
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - National Child Measurement Programme profile - the National Child Measurement Programme is an excellent source of surveillance data that helps increase understanding of the patterns and trends in underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese children. This profile collates data from 2006/07 to 2021/22 and presents it in an online tool.
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - Health behaviours in young people - this profile presents data on factors around health behaviours and risky behaviour in young people. It includes What About YOUth? survey data and information on diet, smoking, drink, drugs, wellbeing and bullying.
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - Oral health profile - the indicators contained within this oral health profile support local authorities to focus on and prioritise oral health and oral health improvement initiatives, particularly among children.
Guidance on lifestyle behaviours in young people
- Department of Health and Social Care - Tackling obesity: government strategy - sets out the actions the government will take to tackle obesity and helps adults and children to live healthier lives.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) young people guidance - NICE has produced a number of documents focused on lifestyle interventions in young people. These include guidance on diet, harmful sexual behaviour, lifestyle weight management services, physical activity and smoking.