Children choose better lifestyle choices

Published Wednesday, 1st February 2017
Healthy eating
A child with some fruit

Children are putting the breaks on bad lifestyle choices - like smoking and drinking sugary drinks - a new school survey has found.

Hundreds of teenagers responding to Rotherham Council’s annual Lifestyle Survey have said they drink one or less high sugar drinks a day, which is being put down to campaigns to ban such drinks from schools.

And there has also been an increase in pupils saying they have never smoked, which is a higher percentage than national figures in similar surveys.

Other highlights of the survey show the use of contraception has increased among those having sex and there has also been an increase in awareness about child sexual exploitation, with more school lessons on this than ever before.

However, there are still areas of concern, including a rise in the numbers of pupils reporting issues around bullying and cyber bullying along with a slight increase in young people saying they have tried drugs, even if this was only once. Officials are now set to meet to discuss strategies to deal with this.

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Service at Rotherham Council said the ambition of the annual survey is to change the experiences of children and young people in Rotherham. He said: “We are committed as a Council to ensure every child gets the beststart in life.

“Part of this commitment is making sure the voices of our young people are not only heard, but also have a direct influence on the work we do for them. That is why it is very important for us and schools to heed the results of surveys like this and listen to what Rotherham’s children are telling us, good or bad.”

Terri Roche, Rotherham Council’s Director of Public Health added: “As a result of last year’s survey both the Council and schools have taken a number of direct actions to tackle some of the issues raised and we will do the same again this year and we will report back the results of what we have done to enhance the healthy lifestyle choices of our young people.”

Over the last few years the survey has led to schools introducing a number of changes including:

  • Introducing specific drug and alcohol awareness sessions
  • Introducing after school cookery clubs with students encouraged to make healthy, simple recipes and enjoy these meals together.Parents are now being encouraged to attend these cookery clubs as well.
  • Ban on all high sugar fizzy drinks in schools

This year’s survey will be extended from seven weeks to 12 to allow more time for pupils to take part, following feedback from schools that this would be helpful. This year’s survey will go out to schools on 3rd May and run until 19th July.

The results of this year’s Lifestyle Survey will be looked at by Cabinet at a date to be agreed, where actions to address key areas of concern will be identified.

To view the survey click below.

Go to Surveyimage