By the time our children are teenagers we see “pronounced differences in self-reported health according to socio-economic status”, Dr Cathal McCrory, psychologist and research assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin explains.
“Forty-three per cent of children in high-income households self-rate their general health as ‘excellent’ compared with 29 per cent of those in the lowest-income households.”
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It’s not just socio-economics that plays a part, however. Gender differences also emerged in this self-reporting by Irish teenagers, with only 38 per cent of teenage girls self-reporting their health as “excellent” compared with 48 per cent of teenage boys.
The Growing Up in Ireland study reveals that “30 per cent of girls are overweight/obese” by the age of 17/18. Activity levels also drop more notably. “In general, there is a decline in physical activity levels among both boys and girls as they transition from middle childhood into adolescence, but the decline is more pronounced among teenage girls,” Dr McCrory says.