Below we present a range of data that provides "snap shots" of how children and young people in Ireland are doing in relation to National Outcome 1: Active and healthy, physical and mental wellbeing.
Baby and infant health
- 99% of 9-month-old infants had their first 6-week check-up and subsequent vaccinations by 2 months of age (99%) and 4 months of age (98%). At 6 months, this fell to 92% (Growing Up in Ireland, 2010).
- In 2010, the Growing Up in Ireland study found that breastfeeding initiation rates in Ireland are among the lowest in the world, at 56%, compared to 92% in Australia and 77% in Britain (Growing Up Ireland, 2010). A more recent report by the Health Service Executive indicates a similar figure, with 55.7% of infants ever being breastfed in 2013 (Health Services Executive, 2014).
- For mothers under 20 years, only 25.1% of their children had ever been breastfed (Health Services Executive, 2014a).
- Infants whose mothers were born outside Ireland were much more likely to be breastfed: 83% compared to 48% of infants whose mother was born in Ireland (Growing Up in Ireland 2011a).
- The number of mothers giving birth below the age of 20 has dropped considerably since 2009. There were 1,253 births to mothers under 20 in 2014, a 44.3% decrease from 2,249 births in 2009 (Central Statistics Office, 2015).
Physical well being
- The majority of children surveyed within the Growing Up in Ireland Study (2009) are in good health from birth to 9 years. Some 73% of 9-year-olds are considered very healthy, with no health problems.
- For those with problems, respiratory illnesses accounted for almost half (46%) of all chronic illnesses among 9-year-olds, with socio-emotional, learning and behavioural problems accounting for a further 19% (Growing Up in Ireland, 2009).
- 4% of male and 4.7% of female 16-24 year olds perceived their health as being “fair, bad or very bad” (Department of Health, 2014).
- A quarter of 3-year-olds are overweight and 26% of 9 and 13-year-olds are overweight or obese (Growing Up in Ireland, 2011b/2011c/2012a).
- 6.3% of young people aged 0-24 have a disability (Central Statistics Office, 2011).
- In the 2011 Census, 97,571 young people between 0 to 24 years have a disability. 44,513 were aged 15-24 (Central Statistics Office, 2011).
- 12.3% of hospital discharges and 4.4% of in-patient bed days were in the 1-14 age group (Economic and Social Research Institute, 2013).
- In 2013, 17.6% of in-patient activity and 8.4% of in-patient bed days were in the 1-24 age group (Healthcare Pricing Office, 2014).
- A Headstrong report from 2013 states that 75% of mental health disorders emerge before the age of 25 (Headstrong, 2013).
- In 2013 there were 59 deaths by suicide to young people aged 24 and under (Central Statistics Office, 2014).
- In 2013 there were 2,928 cases of hospitalised self-harm by young people aged 24 and under. The self-harm rate was highest among the young – among 15-24 year-olds for women and among 20-24 year-olds for men (Griffin et al., National Suicide Research Foundation, 2014).
Are children and young people using drugs or alcohol?
- 15% of 13-year-olds have tried alcohol (Growing Up in Ireland, 2012b).
- Among 15-16 year old students surveyed in 2011, 80% of boys and 81% of girls reported that they had consumed alcohol at some point in their life (European Schools Project on Alcohol and Drugs, 2012).Over half of 16-year-olds have been drunk and 1 in 5 or 20% of 16-year-olds are weekly drinkers (European Schools Project on Alcohol and Drugs, 2012).
- In 2011, eighty-four per cent of 15-16 year old students reported that alcohol was easy or fairly easy to acquire in Ireland. 26% had bought alcohol for their own consumption in an off-trade outlet and 37% had bought alcohol from an on-trade outlet in the 30 days prior to the survey (European Schools Project on Alcohol and Drugs, 2012).
- 91% of 13-year-olds have never smoked (Growing Up in Ireland, 2012b).
- 1% of 13-year-olds have tried cannabis, 3% solvents or inhalants, and 0.4% have used other drugs, such as ecstasy and heroin (Growing Up in Ireland, 2012b).
- According to the European Schools Project on Alcohol and Drugs Survey in 2011, 19% of 15-16 year old students have tried an illicit drug. Cannabis accounted for 94.7% of students who had tried an illicit drug (2012).
How physically active are our children and young people?
- 25% of 9-year-olds meet the recommended 60 minutes a day physical activity (Growing Up in Ireland, 2009).
- 47% of 9-year-olds were involved in structured cultural activities, such as dance, ballet, arts and drama. More than twice the number of girls (65%) than boys (31%) took part in these activities. Participation was also significantly related to maternal education and family income (Growing Up in Ireland, 2009).
- 97% of 9-year-olds reported playing sport at least once a week. Boys were significantly more likely to play sport every day (61%) compared to girls (52%) (Growing Up in Ireland, 2009).
- Participation in structured sports or organised activities was related to social advantage at both 9 and 13 years of age (Growing Up in Ireland, 2012a).
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