Health and wellbeing of young people a major challenge says Healthwatch Redbridge
Councillors, senior healthcare and social care professionals gathered at a round table
event on 28 February to hear Healthwatch Redbridge’s chair Vanda Thomas and CEO
Cathy Turland share findings from their ‘Healthy Living Project’.
The Healthy Living Project is set up to look in to the health and wellbeing of young
people. As part of the project, a confidential survey gathered the views of over 500
young people aged 14-18 on the state of health and wellbeing in Redbridge. The survey
looked at issues such as diet, exercise, emotional wellbeing, smoking and alcohol and
showed overall that:
- 85% of young people surveyed were eating less than the recommended amounts of
fruit and vegetables (in Redbridge, the rates of childhood obesity in year 6 are
above average for England, and have increased since 2012)
- 98% told us they exercise for less than the recommended 7 hours per week
- 12% said they felt they were not coping well emotionally
- 12% told us they smoked with most saying they used a shisha pipe. Smoking in
young people also appears to be higher than the national average of 3%. The use of
e-cigarettes was low, deviating from the national trend which has seen an increase
in the use of e-cigarettes.
- 16% told us they drank alcohol. Although alcohol consumption is similar to the
national average (10%), we were concerned that at least 12 young people told us
they drank alcohol more than twice a week.
At the event, Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England gave a keynote speech
on the NHS Long Term Plan and commended the work being done by HWR. He said: “I was
very impressed to hear of the great work Healthwatch Redbridge was doing to make sure
people’s experiences will make a difference to the quality and effectiveness for health
and social care services.
“Healthwatch is uniquely placed to champion the value of engaging all elements of the
community in developing a service which is fit for the future and Healthwatch Redbridge
is proving that.”
Cathy Turland highlighted a number of concerns that she said the Healthwatch will be
putting before the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board in March. She said: “We are
concerned that our findings which seem to show young people are not getting the best
start in life.
“We need to continue working with our councillors and statutory partners to support our
communities and identify the challenges and trends that impact on health and social care
and get commitment from service providers to respond to them.”