7.1 General context
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In Slovak Republic, there are no complex health studies specifically targeting the youth.
Partial information is provided by:
- population health surveys that include youth age groups but without specific outcomes exclusivelly for youth,
- few partial research studies on children and youth (e.g. physical development studies).
"Health Behaviour in School Aged Children" (HBCS - Slovakia) - research conducted on 11, 13 and 15 years old school pupils in school years 2005/2006, 2009/2010, 2014/2015 and 2017/2018.
Some findings (2017/2018):
- Approx. one in three 15-year-old-boys has experienced two or more health problems more than once a week. An even higher incidence was reported in girls: almost 40% of 11-year-olds and approximately half of 13- and 15-year-old girls reported such an incidence of health problems. The most common health problems among youth are nervousness, irritability and sleep problems.
- 70% of schoolchildren do not exercise (physical activity) a single hour a day. At the age of 11, 28% of boys and 26% of girls were physically active every day, at the age of 13 it was still 29% of boys but only 17% of girls, and at the age of 15, 24% of boys and 12% of girls.
- Only about a third of 15-year-olds (31-36%) about two-fifths of boys (37-43%) and half of girls (48-52%) aged 11 and 13 consumed fruit once or more times a day.
- On average, 30% of schoolchildren aged 15 consumed vegetables several times a day.
- The incidence of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren ranged from 3% in 11-year-old girls to 17% in 15-year-old boys.
- Less than a third of pupils reported consumption of vegetables on a daily basis, the least consumption was at the group of 15-year-old boys.
- Approximately 40% of 15-year-olds, a fifth of 13-year-olds, and less than 7% of 11-year-oldstudents reported their personal experience with smoking cigarettes.
- Almost six out of ten 15-year-olds and about a third of 13-year-old schoolchildren reported personal experiences with drinking alcohol. Among 11-year-olds, 15% of boys and 9% of girls reported experience with drinking alcohol.
- During the school week, only half of 15-year-old schoolchildren slept the recommended 8 hours a day.
- 11% of girls and 17% of boys aged 15-year-old boys admitted experience with sexual intercourse.
Over the last decade, the incidence of childhood obesity has doubled and currently reaches 10% in 10-12 year old boys and 8.5% in 7-12 year old girls. The share of overweight, including obesity, increased depending on age groups and gender to 13% (16-18 years, girls) to 25% (10-12 years, boys)
Several surveys show that the number of overweight children and young people is increasing.
Physically inactive leisure time:
- 19% of 11-year-old boys and 43% of 11-year old girls, 35% of 13-years-old boys and 65% of girls, and 44% of 15-year-old boys and 75% of girls spend two or more hours doing computer work or using social media through electronic devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets).
- Only one in three schoolchildren report regularly organized physical activity.
- nearly every third young person aged 14-19 is a daily smoker.
High accident rate of young people:
- 15-20 years old young people belong to the group with the highest death rate during the accidents.
Poverty threat = the highest risk group.
- the highest risk group is the population of marginalized Roma communities.
- this population group has worse health indicators than the general population (including life-expectancy).
Suicides and depression.
In Slovakia, the number of suicides and depressive episodes in the period before adolescence and in adolescence is growing, but this topic is among the least surveyed.
The Slovak Republic’s health policy is based on concepts and outlines of "Health 2020: European policy framework supporting action across government and society for health and well-being”.
Three important concepts:
- public health
- health influencing factors (health determinants)
- living conditions.
All three terms are defined by Act on Protection, Promotion and Development of Public Health (§2, No. 1, letter b, c.).
Public health is “the level of society's health that corresponds to the level of provided healthcare, to the protection and promotion of health and to the economic level of society."
Health influencing factors (health determinants):
- world environment,
- work environment,
- genetic factors,
- health care,
- protection and promotion of health
- physical, chemical and biological factors of the environment in relation to public health,
- conditions of housing, rest, physical culture, recreation, culture and other interests,
- providing health care and other services, nutrition and diet, state and mode of use of items in contact with foods and subjects of common use,
- conditions for the healthy development, education, mental and physical development of children, youth and adults.