Young Persons Behaviour & Attitudes Survey 2016: Health Modules

Date published: 14 June 2017

The Department of Health today published the “Young Persons Behaviour & Attitudes Survey 2016: Health Modules” bulletin.

Statistical press release

The Young Persons Behaviour & Attitudes Survey (YPBAS) is a school based survey carried out among 11-16 year olds. It is commissioned jointly by a number of government departments and includes questions on a wide range of topics. Six rounds of the survey have now taken place: 2000, 3003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016. This publication presents an overview of the health-related topics from the 2016 survey.

Key Findings

Results from the 2016 YPBAS show that:

The majority of young people (84%) described their health as being good or very good, with no difference found between boys and girls;
Around a third reported having had concerns or worries about their mental health (40% of girls and 31% of boys). Of those that had such concerns, three-fifths did not seek help from anyone;

Since 2000 there has been a steady decline in smoking, drinking and drug use. In 2016, 4% of young people were current smokers, with no difference noted between boys and girls;
A third of young people (32%) had ever taken an alcoholic drink; a decrease from 59% in 2000;

The majority (84%) of respondents indicated they had never been offered drugs or solvents; a small proportion (2%) reported having used drugs or solvents in the last month;

Under a fifth (17%) reported eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day though this is an increase from the 15% first recorded in 2007;  

Around one in eight young people reported doing the recommended 60 minutes of moderate physical activity during every day of the last week; boys (17%) were twice as likely as girls (8%) to attain this;

Around three in five young people had taken an antibiotic in the last twelve months. Just under half (47%) thought that antibiotics work on colds and flu, and 37% thought it was ok to stop taking an antibiotic when you feel better.  

Notes to editors: 

  1. This publication presents an overview of the health findings from the 2016 Young Persons Behaviour & Attitudes Survey. This is the sixth run of the school based survey, with previous surveys in 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010 & 2013.
  2. The fieldwork for the survey was conducted by the Central Survey Unit of NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and covered the period October to December 2016.
  3. A total of 6,831 11-16 year olds completed the survey. Due to the high level of interest amongst policy makers on the views and behaviours of young people, topics were split across two questionnaires to accommodate additional questions.
  4. The results are based on information that has been weighted by year group, sex and religion in order to reflect the composition of the Northern Ireland post-primary population.
  5. As the results are based on data collected from a sample of the population, they are subject to sampling error. This should be taken into consideration when interpreting the results. Differences reported are those that are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level.
  6. The Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure 2010 (NIMDM) was used as a measure of deprivation.  The NIMDM 2010 is the official measure of spatial deprivation in Northern Ireland. 
  7. This publication is available online at:
  8. Additional information is available from:

    Public Health Information and Research Branch
    Information Analysis Directorate
    Department of Health
    Annex 2, Castle Buildings
    BT4 3SQ

    Telephone: 028 9052 2340


  9. A technical report and information on other topics included in the survey are available online from NISRA Central Survey Unit.
  10. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office 028 9052 0505, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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