Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: key findings

Report from national pupil survey includes eyecatching findings around mobile phone use, healthy eating and underage sex

Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children: key findings

The findings from Scotland's latest Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey were published today, after four years of preparation.

The survey has been conducted in Scotland since 1990, with the latest report based on data from 2018. Researchers drew a nationally representative sample by surveying 5,286 pupils – aged 11, 13 and 15 – from 208 schools.

Scottish school pupils' behaviour: what we learned

Here are some of the most eye-catching findings:

90% of 11-year-olds reported owning a smartphone with access to the internet.

92% of 15-year-olds kept their smartphone in their bedroom at night.

21% of 15-year-old boys reported having had sexual intercourse (down from 25 per cent in 1990).

19% of 15-year-old girls reported having had sexual intercourse (down from 27 per cent in 1990).

8% The proportion of young people who said they drank alcohol weekly, down from 28 per cent in 1998.

67% The proportion of girls who said they found it easy to talk to their fathers, up from 48 per cent in 1990.

12% The proportion of boys who had used cannabis in the previous 30 days (5 per cent of girls).

54% of 15-year-olds agreed that there were good places in their local area to spend their free time (against 81 per cent of 11-year-olds and 62 per cent of 13-year-olds).

61% of adolescents who reported 'always' feeling safe in their local area.


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17% of adolescents engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.

71% of boys played computer games on weekdays (up from 53 per cent in 2006).

42% of girls played computer games on weekdays (up from 22 per cent in 2006).

36% The proportion of adolescents who said they ate fruit or vegetables every day.

62% The proportion of adolescents who reported eating breakfast every day on school days.

68% of boys said they brushed their teeth more than once a day, up from 48 per cent in 1990.

36% of adolescents said they were very happy.

7.8 hours The average sleep duration of 15-year-olds on weekdays.

1 in 7 The proportion of adolescents who said they had been bullied at school at least twice in the previous two months.

5% of adolescents said they had been cyberbullied at least twice in the previous two months.

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