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Video: WHO Says Heightened Adolescent Anxiety In 45 Countries
WHO says heightened adolescent anxiety in 45 countries
According to a large study conducted before the pandemic, one in four teenagers report anxiety, irritability, or sleep disturbances at least once a week.
The WHO Regional Office for Europe has published a report on an international study of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children project 2017-2018. The document summarizes a wealth of information about physical health, social interaction, and so-called. mental well-being 227,441 schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15 from 45 countries. The conclusions are disappointing: almost all indicators have decreased compared to 2014.
The report indicates that mental well-being declines as children get older, with girls at higher risk of developing mental disorders than boys. One in four teenagers reports nervous tension, irritability, or sleep disturbances at least once a week.
About a third of countries are seeing an increase in the number of adolescents who find it difficult to carry out school work, and a decrease in the number of those who enjoy learning, the researchers said. In most countries, adolescent attitudes towards learning deteriorate as they get older, and satisfaction with their success and support from teachers and classmates decreases as the workload increases.
The report focuses on the impact of digital technology on the mental health of adolescents in Europe. Obviously, technology can have positives, but it can also increase vulnerability and create new threats to children. For example, cyberbullying, which girls most often experience. The study indicates that more than 10% of the children surveyed have become targets of cyberbullying.
Unsafe sexual behavior remains a concern, with one in four sexually active teenagers engaging in unprotected sex. By the age of 15, every fourth young man (24%) and every seventh girl (14%) begin sexual activity.
As for bad habits, in general, the popularity of alcohol and smoking among adolescents is declining. But at the same time, the consumption of alcoholic beverages among 15-year-old schoolchildren remains consistently high: according to surveys, every fifth of them was intoxicated at least twice in his life, and every seventh at least once in the last 30 days.
Fewer than 20% of adolescents comply with WHO guidelines for physical activity - in about a third of countries, the number has decreased since 2014, especially among boys. Physical education and sports are most often neglected by older girls and adolescents.
At the same time, the majority of adolescents do not eat properly, while one in four eats sweets daily, and one in six drinks sugar-containing drinks. Against this background, the number of obese adolescents has increased: one in five schoolchildren, mostly boys, face this problem. Every fourth teenager considers himself fat, first of all girls.
As noted by WHO, at the time of publication of the HBSC study with data for 2017-2018. the world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the next study, which includes data for 2021–2022, will reflect the impact of the pandemic on the lives of adolescents.