Jersey health report shows rise in alcohol use among Year 12 girls

Posted: 10th February 2023

Regular alcohol consumption among Year 12 schoolgirls has increased in Jersey, a new report said.

The survey of pupils was included in a report that would inform public policy, the director of public health said.

It indicates that 20% of Year 12 girls, aged 15 and 16, “drank alcohol regularly” in 2021, compared to 13% in 2019.

The government said about a quarter of adults were drinking at “potentially hazardous or harmful levels” in 2021.

The Jersey Health Profile, published on Thursday, covers a range of other health indicators including life expectancy, smoking and consumption of vegetables.

It compiled surveys and statistics about children and adults on the island, using data up to 2022, the government said.

The last profile was published in 2016 using data from 2013-2015.

Prof Peter Bradley, director of public health, said the report would “help inform” 2023 public health strategy.

“[It] provides a comprehensive insight into the general health status, health inequalities and health care needs at the population level,” he said.

The report suggests “the income gap is not closing over time”.

Meanwhile, “existing inequalities… are likely to be having an impact on health and wellbeing”.

Other insights from the report include:

  • The average life expectancy at birth in Jersey in 2019-20 was 83.7 years
  • About 14% of all deaths due to respiratory diseases were attributable to smoking in 2021
  • Anxiety scores had increased in all age groups in 2021 compared to 2018, but particularly among Year 12 girls
  • Thirty-eight per cent of Jersey deliveries were by C-section in 2019-21, up from 27% in 2000-2002
  • Breastfeeding rates are higher in Jersey than in England
  • Uptake of childhood immunisations exceeds the 95% World Health Organisation targets for almost all programmes
  • Self-perceived health status in Jersey residents is “among the highest” in Europe
  • Sixty-nine per cent of adults were eating fewer than five daily portions of fruit and vegetables in 2022
  • Over the last five years (2017-2021) there have been no fatalities of children under five in road traffic accidents in Jersey

Children surveyed anonymously in 2021 were asked questions about alcohol consumption.

The results showed 66% of Year Eight males and 65% of Year Eight females had “never drunk alcohol”, an increase since 2019 when the figures were 56% and 67% respectively.

However, 20% of Year 12 girls said they “drink alcohol regularly”, compared to 11% of boys.

This has changed from 13% and 18% respectively in 2019, the report said.

Overall, there was a decline in people perceiving their own health as “good” or “very good” between 2018 and 2022.

The report cited “the Covid-19 pandemic” as a contributory factor.

Covid-19 was mentioned on 37 death certificates in 2021.

Source: Jersey health report shows rise in alcohol use among Year 12 girls – BBC News

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