Young 'take more care with hygiene'

TEENAGERS in the Nineties are more hygiene and health conscious than their predecessors.

A 'lifestyle profile' compiled from data assembled between 1984 and 1990 by the Schools Health Education Unit at Exeter University has found that youngsters between 11 and 16 have cleaner 'toilet habits', shower more frequently, wash their hair more often and are more likely to use a deodorant than teenagers at the start of the project, with the possible exception of followers of the 'grunge' trend in which youths dress down and cultivate an unkempt image.

More than 120,000 young people took part in the survey in which the questions ranged from: 'How many times in the last seven days have you washed your hair with soap, shampoo or shower gel?' to 'How often do you use an anti-perspirant or deodorant?' The survey's results will be used by schools to improve health education programmes.

John Balding, director of the unit, who compiled and developed the questionnaire, said that, faced with the data, some schools had already made much-needed improvements to washing facilities and health programmes. 'Broadly speaking, if schools know in what ways pupils' lifestyles are 'unhealthy', it helps them plan a more relevant and effective curriculum than if they base their planning on guesswork or hearsay', he said.

To broaden the scope of the survey, the questionnaire covered medication, sports, alcohol consumption, doctors and vaccinations. The results are linked with other behavioural patterns, such as smoking or going to discos, to find out how far health and hygiene habits are indicative of young peoples' self-esteem.

The survey found that boys who were less fanatic about hygiene and only chose to have two or three showers a week, led an active social life, enjoyed the highest self-esteem and were least likely to smoke. Girls, on the other hand, had to have six or more showers a week before they could enjoy similar levels of self-esteem and an equally active social life.

The link between hygiene habits and self-esteem surfaced again when the teenagers were asked how often they washed their hands after using the lavatory and then asked how high they rated their own self-esteem. Six out of 10 boys who said they felt good about themselves washed their hands whenever possible. Only one in 10 boys who rated their self-esteem as 'high' admitted they never washed their hands. The figure was about the same for the girls.

One area of hygiene which has changed quite dramatically over the seven years is the use of deodorant. In 1984, only two out of 10 boys aged 11 used a deodorant. By 1989, this figure was eight out of 10. Among 11-year-old girls, six out of 10 used a deodorant in 1984, and nine out of 10 by 1989. The report says that peer pressure and successful advertising campaigns account for the rapid increase.

Young People into the Nineties; Book 2: Health; Schools Health Education Unit, University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU; pounds 6 including p&p.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen