Percentage of Irish children drinking, smoking drops

By Neha Katoch / June 1, 2017

The number of school-aged children, in Ireland, engaged in drinking, smoking and using cannabis has gone down in the 1998-2014 period, says ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC’s)’ new study. According to a new report called HBSC Ireland Trends Report 1998-2014, 8% of Irish children in the age group 10-17 years admitted to smoking in 2014 compared to 23% in 1998. Also, 21% said that they have been drunk before in 2014 compared to 33% in 1998; while 8% reported that they had used cannabis in last year as compared to 12% in 1998.

The study was carried out by Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn and her team at the Health Promotion Research Centre in National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and analysed data on almost 5,000 students aged 10-17. The HBSC research network is an international alliance of researchers that collaborate on the cross-national survey of school students. The HBSC collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys’ and girls’ health and well-being, social environments and health behaviours.

Speaking on the data revealed by HBSC’s report, Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said, “We know lifestyle patterns are established at an early age. We also know that chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiac disease, can develop as a result of lifestyle choices. Having detailed information about the lifestyle choices of our children is hugely significant for the choices we make as a country on the future direction of our national health policy.”

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Neha Katoch

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