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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


7. Health and Well-Being

7.1 General context

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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

Luxembourg shows some specific development and outcomes with regard to core indicators on young peoples' health conditions and health behaviour. Concerning mortality, injuries (80%) are the most frequent cause of mortality among adolescents (15-24 years of age, yearly average between 2005 and 2015). Other types of diseases are of much lower importance: tumours (7%), diseases of the central nervous system (4%), diseases of the circulatory system (3%), and other causes (6%) (Direction of Health, 2017). Road accidents and suicides are the most frequent causes of death by injury (68%), a statistic that proves risk behaviour and mental problems to be very prevalent in young people in Luxembourg. Both factors can lead to serious consequences. The risk of death caused by injury is three times higher for men than for women. According to the report, there was no significant change in the number of deaths caused by injuries between 2002 and 2010. This may be due to the small absolute number of cases (Direction of Health, 2014). The international HBSC study (Health Behaviour in School-aged Children) brings further insight into health behaviours and well-being of young people in Luxembourg (Luxembourg has participated in this cross-national study in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018; see: HBSC Luxembourg). The HBSC Luxembourg Trend Report (Heinz et al., 2020) shows for the period between 2006 and 2018 both improvements and deteriorations regarding health outcomes and behaviours of young people. Improvements incurred mainly in the area of health behaviour: fewer pupils reported smoking, having ever been drunk and having drunk alcohol in the past month. Improvements are also noted regarding nutrition, with more pupils reporting that they eat fruit every day and consume fewer soft drinks. More pupils brush their teeth twice a day. Aggressive behaviours, both bullying perpetration and bullying victimisation have decreased. Another improvement concerns the social context, more pupils say that they can easily talk to their parents about things that worry them. Within the school context two areas of deterioration can be observed: More pupils feel stressed by their schoolwork, and the experience of support by their classmates declined. In terms of health-related behaviours we also noted declines in two areas: the frequency of exercising in free time has declined and fewer pupils report to have breakfast every day. In this context it should also be noted that more pupils reported to be overweight and the number of pupils who had injuries in the past 12 months that needed medical attention also increased. Furthermore, the number of pupils with multiple health complaints (e.g. headaches, abdominal pain, back pain, dizziness) has also increased. For a few indicators, there were improvements in some groups and deteriorations in others. For example, the proportion of pupils who rate their health as excellent has increased among girls and decreased among boys. Such disparities were also found in sweets consumption, the proportion of pupils who feel that their teachers care about them as a person and the proportion of pupils who were in involved in fights.

Regarding the prevalence of illicit drug use, the national drug report shows an overall decline between 1999 and 2006 and a fair stabilisation afterwards. Even though cannabis remains the most frequently used illicit drug by youngsters aged 12 to 18 years, cannabis use prevalence rates remarkably declined between 1999 and 2006, and seem to have stabilised in the years thereafter. Since 2006, a general increase has been noticed concerning the mean age at the first use of cannabis and illicit drugs (LIH, 2016, Heinz et al., 2018). The proportion of tobacco smokers within the age group 18-24 years has decreased between 2007 (38%) and 2013 (20%). After 2013, this trend appears to have stopped as the percentage of young smokers has increased again to 26% in 2016 (Fondation cancer, 2016, Kern at al., 2018).

Main concepts

There are no country-specific concepts related to health and well-being.