Dutch teens are the happiest in Europe and also happier than American teens. They like to go to school, have lots of friends and are less involved in fights and bullying. They have a good relationship with their parents and feel healthy. Also there are not anywhere else in Europe so many kids having breakfast as in the Netherlands.
This is the conclusion of a major international survey into the health and welfare of children between the age of 11 and 15, the results of which were published on Wednesday.
The survey, entitled Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC), shows that young Dutch teenagers drink less, smoke less cannabis and tobacco and engage less often in unsafe sex than most of their peers in the 39 countries covered by the HBSC report. Just five years ago, they were still among the top ten.
Dutch children are, just like five years ago, the happiest of all. About 95 percent of those interviewed give their lives at least a passing grade. “Social factors play an important role in how they look at their lives. Dutch children generally have a good relationship with their parents, family and friends. Another factor is the Netherlands’ prosperity and limited social inequality,” researcher Wilma Vollenbergh told the Dutch media.
Dutch children are also quite healthy compared to other European and North American countries. They have fewer ailments and are less often on a diet than most of their peers. They do, on the other hand, spend a lot of time watching TV, drink too much soft drink and do not eat enough fruit. They are in the middle range in terms of exercise and sports.
Support from family and classmates protects young people from negative influences; those who report easy communication with their parents are more likely to report positive health outcomes. Having close friends and peer support is also a strong predictor of positive health. The more sources of support, the more likely young people are to report good health.
The HBSC report shows that addressing the social determinants of health inequalities in childhood and adolescence can enable young people to maximize their health and well-being, ensuring that these inequalities do not extend into adulthood, with all the potential negative consequences for individuals and society.
The HBSC survey is commissioned by the World Health Organisation and conducted every five years. A total of 200,000 children in 39 countries took part in the survey.