Secondary health care

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Glasgow’s secondary students are much healthier than expected — with a southside scholl leading the way.

Findings from a recent secondary school survey on health and wellbeing were released on Friday, fronted by youngsters from Shawlands Academy.

According to health and education officials, the findings, calculated from over 8,000 S1-4 pupils are encouraging.

Statistics reveal that 75 per cent of pupils asked had never tried smoking, and 60% have never drunk alcohol — those that do, meanwhile, are spending less money on it than youngsters in 2007.

Perhaps surprisingly, a larger number of those who admitted drinking were girls instead of boys.

Physical activity was also shown to be popular, with four out of five students taking part in sports clubs outside of school and almost half walking or cycling to school each morning.

Another issue raised by the project was that of young carers, with schools urged to identify those looking after a family member and provide more help during school hours.

Bailie Jean McFadden, executive member for education, commented: “So often it’s the negative aspect of a young person’s actions we read about in the media, but the majority of Glasgow’s youngsters really do care about their health and wellbeing.

“This is very encouraging and we aim to build on this momentum with special health summits in all learning communities”.

Bailie McFadden added that she was particularly pleased with the results for sexual health education, as four in five pupils said they had received enough relevant relationship education.

Also speaking at the launch, Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Part of the reason for doing this survey is that the young people themselves are involved”, and added that improving the negative findings would become a focus for the health board.

A previous 2007 study led to Shawlands Academy introducing stress workshops to combat exam pressure — and for the current intake, the latest findings seem useful.

Eva O’Donovan (13) told The Extra: “I think the survey’s important because it lets the adults and educational services know how we feel about school and any health issues we have”.

Fellow pupil Iqra Qadri (14) added: “Doing the survey has made me think about what I eat and that I could be a bit healthier to avoid things like heart disease in the future”.

And for Cuban-born Evelyn Quesada, who has lived in Glasgow for two years, some of the results highlighted a need for change.

Evelyn (14) commented: “I was quite shocked when they said it was girls who drank and smoke more than boys.

“I think that bad because it may seem OK at the time but smoking and drinking can lead to health problems in the future — so that needs to change”.