Data on school children’s health behaviour: important input for health policy

Representatives of the network of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, covering 43 countries and regions, met in Copenhagen, Denmark on 3–5 November to discuss the framework for the report to be issued in late 2011. The data gathered by the study over the past 26 years have influenced policy-making for young people across the WHO European Region, including legislation on smoking in schools, policy on alcohol use and guidelines on bullying. They have also been instrumental in putting young people’s mental health high on the political agenda.

The study presented findings on patterns of health among 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds and gives an understanding of how social circumstances and developmental processes influence these. HBSC addressed both risk factors and general well-being, and provided a strong body of evidence. The data collected from each survey was released in both national reports and a full international report covering all participating countries and regions. The 2011 international report will cover lifestyles and living conditions, with a focus on determinants of health and inequalities.