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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 05.06.2020, 12:44

WHO: Lithuania leads in Europe in terms of bullying among children, adolescents

BC, Vilnius, 20.05.2020.Print version
Lithuania leads among European and other countries in terms of bullying among children and adolescents, the latest survey by the World Health Organization shows, cites LETA/BNS.

A new report from the international Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study published on Tuesday by the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the health and social behaviors of schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15, from 45 countries, shows almost a third of teenagers aged 11-13 were subjected to bullying in Lithuania in 2018, and every fourth boy and around every seventh girl bullied others.


The highest level of bullying was reported among 13-year-olds as 32 percent of boys and 31 percent of girls said they had experienced bullying. The rates stand at 29 and 26 percent respectively in the 11-year-old group, and 26 and 21 percent respectively among 15-yer-olds.


In terms of bullying others, Lithuania also leads and is only behind Moldova in the 11-year-old group. In Lithuania, 24 percent of boys and 17 percent of girls aged 13 said they have taken part in bullying. In the 15-year-old group, they make 30 and 15 percent respectively, and 20 and 11 percent respectively in the 11-year-old group.


Carried out every four years, the WHO-initiated survey was done in 45 countries where schoolchildren were asked whether they have been subjected to or taken part themselves in bullying over the past several months.


Compared to 2014, the number of boys who have experienced bullying has seen the largest drop as it has gone down from 35 to 29 percent in the 11-year-old group, from 31 to 24 percent in the 13-year-old group and from 29 to 26 percent in the 15-year-old group.


All age groups included, the top of the list also includes Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Russian and England.


The report presents the findings from the HBSC survey in countries of the European Region and Canada, which is undertaken every four years. Other key findings from this latest study include:


  • Risky sexual behaviour remains a concern: 1 in 4 adolescents who have sex are having unprotected sex. At age 15, 1 in 4 boys (24%) and 1 in 7 girls (14%) report having had sexual intercourse.
  • Drinking and smoking have continued to decline adolescents, but the number of current alcohol and tobacco users remains high among 15-year-olds, with alcohol the most commonly used substance. One in five 15-year-olds (20%) have been drunk twice or more in their lifetime, and almost 1 in 7 (15%) had been drunk in the last 30 days.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 adolescents meet the WHO recommendations for physical activity – levels have declined in around one third of countries since 2014, especially among boys. Participation remains particularly low for girls and older adolescents.
  • Most adolescents are failing to meet current nutritional recommendations, undermining their capacity for healthy development. Around 2 out of 3 adolescents do not eat enough nutrient-rich foods, with 1 in 4 eating sweets and 1 in 6 consuming sugary drinks every day.
  • Levels of overweight and obesity have risen since 2014, and now affect 1 in 5 young people, with higher levels among boys and younger adolescents; 1 in 4 adolescents perceive themselves as too fat, especially girls.


As the latest HBSC study, featuring findings from 2017/2018, is released, the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The next study, which will feature findings from 2021/2022, will therefore reflect the impact of the pandemic on the lives of young people.


“The broad range of issues covered by the HBSC study give important insights into adolescent’s lives today and should also provide us with a useful baseline to measure the impact of COVID-19 on adolescence when the findings from the next study emerge in 2022,” said Martin Weber, Programme Manager for Child and Adolescent Health, WHO Regional Office for Europe. “The data comparison will enable us to measure to what extent and how prolonged school closures and community lockdowns have affected young people’s social interactions, and physical and mental well-being.”






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