Today’s teens are most worried about losing weight and fitting in. But more teenagers from low income families worry about bullying, drugs, and smoking compared to peers from high income families. Surveys for NHS Teen LifeCheck published today reveal social similarities and divides on some of the top teenage concerns.
Of the teenagers surveyed, almost double the number of teens from low income families worried about bullying. However, teens from higher income families are more likely to worry about peer pressure and fitting in.
The research was undertaken for the NHS Teen LifeCheck website on behalf of the Department of Health. This online service - www.teenlifecheck.co.uk - is aimed at teens with the highest risk of future ill health caused by their lifestyle choices. The website encourages them to complete its quiz and act on the results, and signposts people to support for issues like bullying.
In just three months, www.teenlifecheck.co.uk is already having a considerable impact. More than 100,000 teenagers have completed a LifeCheck, getting advice on topics like bullying and smoking as well as drugs, alcohol, personal safety, healthy eating and exercise. Today’s survey will inform the ongoing development of the site so it is up to date and meaningful to teenagers.
Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron, said:
"Whether teenagers are concerned about their weight or giving up smoking, nearly three quarters of them say they like to get confidential advice. NHS Teen LifeCheck gives teenagers the support to make decisions and choices that can help them to be healthy and happy."
The website www.teenlifecheck.co.uk is specifically targeted at young people (12-15) because research has shown that these are the "discovery years", where young people are most likely to experiment. There is a greater opportunity for this age group to recognise and avoid risky behaviours or unhealthy lifestyle choices.