Health inequalities are highlighted in a new report on the lives of 13-year-olds – Growing Up in Ireland – published today.
The report, conducted by ESRI and Trinity College Dublin with funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, also considers how their lives have changed since the children were 9 years of age.
Over 7,400 young people and their families in Ireland were interviewed when the children were 13 years old in 2012.
The report contains findings across a range of areas including physical health, education, and family.
Some of the key health findings include;
- Most 13-year-olds are in good physical health – 76% were reported by their parents as being very healthy and 23% as healthy but a few minor problems.
- However, parents from more disadvantaged backgrounds were somewhat more likely to report that their 13-year-old had some form of health problem: 22% of parents in the highest social class reported some form of health problems compared to 33% in the lowest social class.
- Overweight and obesity continued at 13 years of age, with 20% of 13-year-olds being overweight and 6% obese. Girls were significantly more likely than boys to be overweight or obese (30% compared with 24%).
- 8.7% of 13-year-olds indicated that they had ever smoked a cigarette. There was no difference in rates between boys and girls. Those whose Primary Caregiver was in the lowest educational category or lowest family social class group had significantly higher rates of having ever smoked a cigarette.
- 16 per cent said they had ever had an alcoholic drink. This is significantly higher among boys (17 per cent) than girls (14 per cent). Significantly higher levels were also recorded among the most educationally and socially disadvantaged groups. For example, the level was 19.6 per cent among those whose Primary Caregiver had left school with a Junior Certificate or less, compared to 13.1 per cent among those whose main caregiver had a degree.
- Of those who had ever taken an alcoholic drink, just under half (48 per cent) said that they had a whole alcoholic drink in the last year.
Click here to read the report.
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) was a partner on the EU Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity (JANPA) project. IPH examined the economic impacts of childhood obesity. You can read more here.
IPH and the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland (TFRI), published an all-island report on tobacco, inequalities and childhood in 2013 which showed that while tobacco control measures are being successful, disadvantaged children are at particular risk of tobacco-related harms. You can read the report here.