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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before