First, the good news. A Europe-wide survey of teenagers by the University of Glasgow shows British children are careful to brush their teeth twice every day, putting British teenagers at the top of the league.
And now for the bad news. Turns out British teenagers are more likely to binge-drink and suffer sleep problems than other countries. Plus many teens spend most of the day chatting to friends on social media and glued to their phones and tablets.
As a result, family life seems to be suffering too with fewer than four in 10 teens enjoying a meal with parents once a day.
The survey, called the International Health Behaviour in School-aged Children and led by the University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews, examined data from 227,441 young people in 44 European countries plus Canada.
A World Health Organisation study into child mental health found the number not getting a proper night’s rest has risen significantly.
Four out of 10 girls in England, aged 13 to 15, are having trouble sleeping at least once a week. Boys were a close second, with three out of 10 the same age having problems. More than a quarter of 11-year-olds also said they had issues getting a full night’s rest.
Children in France and Greenland appear to have the worst sleep problems. Then there’s school stress. Young people from England, Scotland and Wales were among the worst to suffer from school pressure and problems with social media.
Children aged 15 in England suffered the worst pressure at school, with 74% of girls and 62% of boys being stressed from schoolwork.
Study leader, Dr Jo Inchley from the University of Glasgow, said: “It is worrying to see adolescents are telling us that all is not well with their mental wellbeing and we must take this message seriously.
“Sleep difficulties are on the rise, and we’re also seeing an increase in social and emotional difficulties such as feeling low and nervous. Compared with other countries, young people in the UK are also more likely to think they’re too fat.”
Fiona Brooks, a public health expert at the University of Technology in Sydney, said: “Young people in the UK spend much more time on social media than comparable peers across Europe.
“Excessive use is problematic and warrants attention.”