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Council presents results of third Highland Lifestyle Survey of young people

16th January 2014

The Highland Council has conducted a survey for the third time that provides a snapshot of young peopleís lifestyles in the Highlands.

The biennial survey carried out in March 2013, included responses from over 7,700 pupils in their last year of primary school and second and fourth years of secondary school. The latest initial report presents findings that follow two earlier surveys carried out in 2011 and 2009.

Similar to earlier 2011 results, overall the 2013 data supports the view that the great majority of children in the Highlands are happy, healthy and have good family and peer relationships.

The majority 85.7% pupils agreed that their school was a good place to learn and improvements were noted in the uptake of school meals and good dental health habits. Welcoming downward trends were reported in the proportion of Highland children saying they drank alcohol or used drugs or substances during the one week prior to the survey.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of The Highland Councilís Adult and Childrenís Services Committee welcomed the report showing initial findings in the 2013 data and comparisons with the 2009/2011 findings stating:

ďWe are pleased that the number of pupils taking part in the survey has continued to increase and that we are able compare data from three surveys over a six year period. Where the early indicators in the report show improvements to positive aspects of lifestyle we can celebrate the success of pupils and professionals in the schools communities for achieving this. Further more detailed work on the survey findings will also be scrutinised later this year to see where we can help to improve the lifestyles of our young people.Ē

Dr Margaret Somerville, Director of Public Health for NHS Highland, said: ďItís very encouraging to see the downward trend over time in some risky behaviours. The results will be very helpful in planning health and other services for our young people.Ē

A final report will be compiled and presented to a future meeting of the Councilís Education, Culture and Sport Committee for further scrutiny. Members agreed that a multi-agency officer working group will be introduced in early 2014 to take forward a review of the process, questions and resources required to improve future Highland Lifestyle Surveys; and that the next Highland Lifestyle Survey will be carried out in 2015.