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15-16 year olds - research findings

Youth studies: Nine out of ten have good health

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Nine out of ten 15-16 year olds in Norway say that they are healthy. This is also the case in the three most northerly counties. Generally, more boys than girls rate their health as ”good” or ”very good” according to various youth surveys carried out by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).


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Health studies among young people were completed by 15-16 year olds in six counties. The results from Hedmark, Oppland, Oslo, Troms and Finnmark have been published previously. Now the results are updated with figures from the survey in Nordland in 2004. The NIPH ran the surveys in southern Norway, but in the most northern counties the NIPH worked with the Centre for Sami Health Research at the University of Tromsø.

Nine out of ten have good health

The number of boys who rated their health as good/very good was about 90 percent in all counties but this varied more for girls (84-89 percent). There was least difference between the sexes in Oppland and most in Hedmark.
Most of the 15-16 year olds indicated “good” when they rated their own health. The difference between boys and girls was greatest in the group who rated their health as very good. In northern Norway 42 percent of boys rated their own health as very good, in Oslo 40 percent and in Hedmark-Oppland this was 36-37 percent. For girls, 32 percent of girls in northern Norway rated their health as very good. The lowest number, 25 percent were in Hedmark.

Special health problems

The number of boys and girls who answered yes to the questions ”Have you or have you ever had asthma?” and ”Have you or have you ever had Hay Fever?” was quite similar in all the six counties. Boys in Finnmark had lower figures for both Hay Fever and asthma but the difference was not statistically significant. Hay fever was more common among girls (41 percent) than boys (36 percent). There was no difference between sexes for self-reported asthma, which was reported by 13.5 percent for all six counties.

Approximately 20 percent of boys had had stomach pains in the previous year, whilst 46 percent of girls complained of the same. Headaches were even more widespread, 44 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls had headaches “many times in the previous 12 months.” Period pains could explain the higher rate of stomach aches among the girls. Young people in Nordland were the least affected by head and stomach pains.