Eat, move, think: What you need to know about children’s health (teenage girls)

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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.”
January is Health Month in The Irish Times. Throughout the month, in print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2021. See irishtimes.com/health

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.

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