Tuesday, January 19News For London

Happiness is not equaling healthiness among London’s teens

Teenagers in London are less satisfied with life than those in the rest of the UK, according to new research.

25168582_de292cda40_o
Shisha pipes represent a growing habit among London teens (illustrative purposes only). Credit: Jan Kromer

London teens had the highest rates of low life satisfaction in a national survey. Teens from the North East and West Midlands were most satisfied with their lives.

The What About YOUth? Survey questioned over 120,000 teenagers across England about their health habits, and their thoughts on their health and wellbeing. The results paint a mixed picture of the health of London’s youth.

Drinking rates among 15 year olds were lower than anywhere else in the country with nearly 60 percent never having had a single alcoholic drink.

They were also amongst the best at eating five portions of fruit and vegetables. Over half managed to do so.

 

Underage Smoking

Only three percent of London’s teens had ever tried a cigarette compared to 24 percent nationally. However 21 percent had used waterpipes, shisha or similar products. According to the study, these products are more popular amongst black and ethnic minority groups which make up more of London’s population than the rest of the country.

This higher rate of shisha use is a cause for concern due to the common misconception that waterpipe smoking is less dangerous than cigarette smoking. The charity Action on Smoking and Health found that in a 45 minute session, waterpipe users were exposed to four times as much carbon monoxide and inhaled 56 times more smoke.

Paul Bishop, Chief Executive of QUIT, a charity that helps people stop smoking, spoke to Westminster World: “There is probably more work that needs to be done. People are pretty unaware of the risks of shisha compared to cigarettes.”

 

Bullying

Half of London teens had experienced bullying, the lowest amount in the country. In one in ten cases, this bullying spread online, again the lowest rate nationally.

Despite these lower bullying rates, 24 percent of London teenagers said they had taken part in bullying someone else.

Paul Niblett, the statistician responsible for the study, said: “Today’s findings report on the behaviours and attitudes of young people nationally and at local authority level, across a range of subjects. For the first time, we have also been able to report on experiences and perceptions that will help to provide much needed and well-rounded insight.”