Young people and their health: Qualitative research
Summary of findings
Diet and Exercise
- The majority of children, across ages, tended to think they had an unhealthy diet. The convenience and low cost of ‘junk food’ influenced this. Whilst parents in both sets of age groups did encourage a healthy diet, many ‘did not like the taste’ of health food.
- Females admitted to ‘not eating very much’ to maintain a thinner figure, emulating celebrities such as Victoria Beckham.
- Males were much more likely than females to take part in sport or exercise. Girls were more likely to lack confidence / worry about their image in PE.
- These young people did not worry about diet and exercise (or alcohol, smoking and drugs) but felt that health was something to worry about ‘when you are older’. There is a clear need for education.
- Smoking tended to start at an early age. Image, stress and the influence of peers were the main reasons for starting, and levels of smoking increased with levels of stress.
- 11-16 year olds tended to be much more negative about smoking.
- All had tried alcohol. 11-16 year old were most likely to have tried in the presence of family members, whilst the older one tended to drink socially at friends houses once a week. Drinking was thought to start at around the age of 13 or 14 due to the influence of older friends, more socialising outside of school, and the increase in confidence that alcohol gives them.
- 16-18 years olds tended to drink large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, with vodka and lager being preferred options. Access to alcohol was not an issue as many – even at 14 – could buy alcohol in local shops without having to give ID.
- Access to drugs was seen as incredibly easy, with children witnessing drugs being bought within the school grounds. Easy access, and relatively low price, were seen as contributing to trial amongst young people. The majority of 16-18 year old had tried and were currently taking drugs, whilst only one 11-16 year old had tried and was currently taking them.
- Boredom and the influence of older peers were seen as reasons to use drugs. Cannabis was most commonly used and not seen as harmful. Harder drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy were taken occasionally.
- The glamorisation of drugs in the media (film and tv) was seen as a sign that taking them isn’t ‘that much of a big deal.’
- All participants recognised the health risks of taking drugs, more so than with alcohol and smoking. All felt that young people will take drugs even if they are told not too. The older ones felt that nothing would influence them to stop, whilst the younger ones thought that hard-hitting education at a young age, e.g. taking an addict into schools, might have an influence.
Not specified, but appear to have been to explore young people’s awareness, attitudes and behaviours with regard a number of health-related topics, including:
- diet and exercise
- emotional health
NHS Hull is developing a number of strategies to reduce health inequalities and improve health and quality of life for people living in Hull. Since 2002 a number of consultations on the subject have taken place in the city.
In 2008 a survey of 3000 young people was commissioned to explore the health and lifestyle of young people. A total of 16 schools and pupil referral units took part.
Subsequently, a series of reflector groups were conducted to explore the findings of the survey in more depth.
Following a survey in 2008 of 300 young people, this research is designed to explore in more depth the awareness, attitudes and behaviours of Hull’s young people in relation to their health and lifestyles.
8x focus groups were conducted amongst young people, covering a range of ages and backgrounds.
Groups were structured as follows:
- 2x 11-16 year olds (gender not specified; assumed mixed)
- 7x 16-18 year olds (3x mixed gender, 2x female, 2x male)
Topics included: diet and exercise, weight, emotional health, bullying, smoking, alcohol, drugs
Data collection methodology
8x focus groups. (Number of participants in each group not specified)