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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023

Main trends in the health conditions of young people

The 2014 survey HSBC “Behaviour, well-being and health of young people in the French-speaking Community” (Comportement, bien-être et santé des jeunes en Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) is the Belgian French-speaking version of the international survey “Health Behaviour in Schoolaged Children” organised by WHO. 

In 2014, around 14 000 pupils from the fifth grade of primary school to the last year of secondary school have participated to the  tenth HSBC survey organised in the French-speaking Community. Here are some results of the survey:

-    85% of respondents say they are satisfied with their lives ; 
-    Pupils from French-speaking Community’s schools are among the biggest consumers of fruits and vegetables compared to others countries participating to the international survey ;
-    8 % of respondents are daily smokers which is a proportion closed to the one observed at the international scale. 
-    More than one third of respondents drink sugary drinks ;
-    Only 16% of respondents do at least 1 hour of sport every day ; 
-    57% of respondents watch TV at least 2 hours a day ;
-    17% of respondents are bullied at school. 

This survey shows also important health inequalities regarding pupils with low socio-economic background, pupils from single-parents families and pupils from vocational education. 
The transition from primary school to secondary school is also a critical period (school, physical or psychological changes). 
These profiles need a particular attention in the field of health promotion. 

According to the Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth welfare in “childhood and youth inventory 2016-2017”, 27 % of young Walloons (15 and 24) and 28 % of youngsters of Brussels (15 and 24) have a slight psychological anxiety disorder (mal-être psychologique). These rates are lower than the rates for the whole population. 
To know more about mental health issues, see the study “indicators of mental health in Wallonia 2016” (Indicateurs de Santé mentale en Wallonie).

Main concepts

Health promotion in the French-speaking Community is understood as following in the decree of 14 July 1997 organising health promotion in the French-speaking Community (organisant la promotion de la santé en Communauté française):
'the process which aims at giving the possibility to individual and to the community to act on the health determining factors and, in doing so, to improve health by favouring the population’s commitment to take in charge daily life collectively and in solidarity, mixing personal choice and social responsibility. Health promotion aims at improving well-being of the population by mobilizing all public policies in a concerted way'.