Pretty good in Østfold! PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 26 August 2010 00:00

Young people in Østfold have very good health, drink less alcohol than young people in other counties and are happier with their own weight than young people in other counties. This is shown by the results of the survey “Østfold Health 2008”.
The survey “Østfold Health 2008” has been carried out by Østfold Health and Østfold County Council, in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and TNS Gallup.

In total, more than 1,500 pupils took part in the survey, mainly 10th year pupils, but also some 8th and 9th years. The questionnaire included questions about health, environment and wellbeing. The results, recently published at a conference in Sarpsborg, are based on the responses from 10th year pupils.

– “The survey shows that those in Østfold who took part largely rate their own health as good or very good - as many as 90 per cent of them in fact. The figures from Østfold also show that more than in other counties feel that their health is very good,” says Liv Grøtvedt, Senior Adviser at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

53% of the boys and 39% of the girls in the survey thought that their own health was very good, compared with 40% and 28% respectively for boys and girls in other counties.

The survey also shows that pupils in Østfold drink less alcohol than those of the same age in other counties.

– “Both as regards weekly consumption and the number of times the pupils say they have been drunk in total, the figures from Østfold are below the comparable figures we have from surveys in other counties,” says Grøtvedt.

In Østfold, 8% of boys said they had drunk alcohol every week over the past year, compared with 15% in the other counties. Of the boys, 31% stated that they had been drunk 2-3 times or more in total, compared with 46% in the other counties. Similar differences were found for the girls.

– “Admittedly the surveys from the other counties are somewhat older, but they are largely comparable. The national trend for alcohol consumption among young people has been upward over the past decade, so it is therefore surprising that we now find figures that indicate lower alcohol consumption among 15-16 year-olds,” says Grøtvedt.

Over the last ten years, Østfold Health has carried out many health and environment surveys among the 15-79 age group. This is the first for young people.

– “The results are mainly very positive, because they show that young people in Østfold consider themselves to be healthy, with a high degree of wellbeing - more than 90% say that they get on well at school. A large proportion, almost 70% of participants, are physically active in the form of sport 3-4 times a week, and we see lower alcohol consumption than in other counties. This is of course positive,” says Rennesund.

But there are also some issues to get to grips with. For example, more girls are beginning to use snuff than before. 13% of the girls in the survey use snuff “now and then”, while 2% use it daily. In Østfold, a higher proportion was found with mental complaints than has previously been found in other counties. It was also found that 14% of the girls could be classified as underweight based on their own reports of height and weight.

Youth surveys among 15-16 year-olds have previously been carried out in other counties in Norway. These have provided the inspiration and some good information for the survey in Østfold.

“The survey of young people is meant to be a source of inspiration in public health work, in work on the conditions in which young people grow up and in creating a debate on significance and priorities in good youth policy,” says Rennesund.

– The young persons’ survey was performed free of charge for all the municipalities in Østfold. The results of the survey will be used as the basis for new planning and priorities in preventive and health-promoting activities.

The survey is part of the WHO/EU project HEPRO and is led by Østfold county council. In this project, 45,000 Europeans in 8 countries answered questions about their own health, which gives a very good basis for further analyses and comparisons between countries. The results of this survey were also presented at the conference in Sarpsborg.

Download a fact sheet about the survey

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