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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.1 General context

Last update: 3 April 2023
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  1. Main trends in the health conditions of young people
  2. Main concepts

Main trends in the health conditions of young people

European Health Interview Survey

In 2019, the European Health Interview Survey [Európai lakossági egészségfelmérés, 2019 (referred hereinafter to as ELEF2019)] was conducted for the third time in Hungary. In this survey, younger people were also part of the target group for data collection. If the respondent had a child aged 6 months to 14 years living in the same household, the data were also collected on this child ('Az adatfelvétel végrehajtása').

According to the preliminary data (Tehetünk az egészségünkért – ELEF2019 gyorsjelentés), the Hungarian population aged 15 and over rated their own health on a five-point scale with an average of 3.7. 94% of 15-17 year olds rate their health as 'good' or 'very good'. The proportion of chronically ill people increases with age: only one-fifth of 15-17 year olds said they had a chronic long-term illness, but among those aged 65 and over the figure was 77%. One tenth of 15-17 year olds had to follow a special diet because of food sensitivities or another illness. 16% of them were overweight or obese and 19% were slim.

Differences by gender

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) is a cross-national survey, which has been conducted in Hungary since 1985. It aims to observe the health-related habits and subjective health status of 11 to 17 year old schoolchildren, to track temporal and international trends, and to investigate background factors for behavioural and health indices and their mechanisms of action.

The results of the 2014 survey show significant gender differences:

'in the total sample, girls are significantly more likely to rate their health as acceptable or poor than boys. However, when we break down the data by age, we see that a significant difference only occurs in the 7th, 9th and 11th grades. In older age groups, the proportion of those reporting unfavourable health is also higher.' [Health Behaviour in School-aged Children 2014. (Egészség és egészségmagatartás iskoláskorban, 2014)

According to the survey results in 2018, there are some differences between young boys and girls in Hungary:

  • 39% of the Hungarian young girls considered herself to be fat; this rate was only 25% among boys,
  • 34% of the 15 year old girls and 42% of boys eats breakfast every day,
  • one quarter of both boys (24%) and girls (25%) eats sweets every day,
  • girls are more likely to have an online chat 'all day' with friends (25%) than boys (22%),
  • in total, 40% of young people in Hungary reported that they felt nervous or dejected or has a sleeping problem each week (PPK HBSC, 2020 and WHO, 2020).
Differences by the level of education

There are also differences according to the level of education:

'Among those attending courses that do not provide for [school-leaving] qualifications, there are significantly fewer who consider their health status to be excellent (21.8%) than among students in high schools and vocational schools (26.2%); on the other hand there are more vocational school students who consider their health status to be acceptable (25.3% compared to the 17.6% of students in courses with school-leaving qualifications).' (Egészség és egészségmagatartás iskoláskorban, 2014)

Results of the Hungarian Youth 2020 survey

The results of the large sample youth survey conducted every four years in Hungary [Hungarian Youth 2020 (Magyar Fiatalok 2020)], show an improving tendency. However, satisfaction with health and physical appearance has slightly decreased in 2020 compared to the 2016 results. Three quarters of 15-29 year olds were satisfied with their own health and well-being. Half of young people were completely or almost completely satisfied with their appearance in 2008, and this proportion increased to 63% in 2020.


According to the preliminary data of the ELEF2019 (Tehetünk az egészségünkért – ELEF2019 gyorsjelentés), there were positive changes in smoking among boys compared to previous surveys: 14.1% of boys (aged 15-17) smoked in 2019, while this rate was almost 25% among 15-18 year olds in 2014. There was a slight increase among young girls: 16.4% of young girls smoked in 2019 while in 2014 this rate was 14% (among 15 to 18 year old girls).

Alcohol consumption

According to the ELEF2019 (Tehetünk az egészségünkért – ELEF2019 gyorsjelentés) survey, 97.4% of 15 17 year old boys and 93% of young girls rarely or never drink alcohol. These rates decrease with age: among 18-34 year olds, the proportion of those who rarely drink alcohol is 52.8% and 21.5% of those who never drink alcohol. Among the youngest the proportion is higher among women.

Main concepts

In Hungary there is a widespread professional understanding of 'health information is a resource of the professional politics that is crucial to health planning, realisation and evaluation.' (European Health Information Initiative)

The focus of this chapter is on:

  • government policies on youth health
  • regulations and guidelines on sport and mental health
  • health policies on youth
  • improving mental health
  • the treatment of mental illness.