Skip to main content
Publication, Part of

Health and Wellbeing of 15-year-olds in England - Main findings from the What About YOUth? Survey 2014

Publication Date:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014


What About YOUth? 2014 (WAY 2014) is a newly-established survey designed to collect robust local authority (LA) level data on a range of health behaviours amongst 15 year-olds.

A report was published on 4th August 2015 on just the smoking questions.  This report contains information on all the subject areas covered in the survey as well as repeating the data from the smoking questions.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was commissioned by the Department of Health to run the survey in direct response to the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum. This Forum identified gaps in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) and other key health behaviour measures relating to young people. HSCIC contracted Ipsos MORI to carry out the survey.

WAY 2014 is the first survey to be conducted of its kind and it is hoped that the survey will be repeated in order to form a time series of comparable data on a range of indicators for 15 year-olds across England. Data has been collected on general health, diet, use of free time, physical activity, smoking, drinking, emotional wellbeing, drugs and bullying.


  • Over half of young people in England said that they had been bullied in some form in the past couple of months (55 per cent). 15 per cent had experienced cyber-bullying within the past couple of months. 26 per cent of participants had bullied another person or people at some point in the past, and three-quarters of participants reported that they had never bullied another person (74 per cent).
  • 22 per cent of young people had very high life satisfaction scores, 44 per cent had high life satisfaction scores, 21 per cent had medium life satisfaction scores and 14 per cent had low life satisfaction.
  • Half (52 per cent) of all young people thought their body was 'about the right size'. 12 per cent thought they were 'a bit too thin', and 2 per cent thought they were 'much too thin'. Just over a quarter (28 per cent) thought their body was 'a bit too fat' and 6 per cent thought they were 'much too fat'.
  • Around one in three young people said their health was 'Excellent' (29 per cent), over half said their health was 'Good' (56 per cent), whilst a smaller proportion said their health was 'Fair' (13 per cent) or 'Poor' (1 per cent).
  • Around one in seven young people stated that they had a long-term illness, disability or medical condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor (14 per cent).
  • 14 per cent of young people said that they participated in at least one hour of moderate/vigorous physical activity per day on all seven days of the last week.
  • Just over half of young people had consumed 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day (52 per cent).
  • Just over three in five young people reported that they had previously had a whole alcoholic drink (not just a sip) (62 per cent).  6 per cent of all young people were classed as regular drinkers (drinking alcohol at least once a week). 8 per cent of young people drink alcohol about once a fortnight, 11 per cent drink about once a month, and 32 per cent drink only a few times a year.
  • 24 per cent of young people had ever smoked.  8 per cent of young people were current smokers, which comprised 5 per cent who were regular smokers and 3 per cent who smoked occasionally.
  • 26 per cent of young people said they had ever been offered cannabis. 11 per cent of young people said they had ever tried cannabis, including trying cannabis once. Looking at young people overall, 5 per cent had taken cannabis in the last month, 9 per cent had taken it in the last year, and 2 per cent had taken it more than a year ago. 'In the last year' includes 'in the last month'.           
  • The majority (87 per cent) had never been offered any other drugs, with over one in ten saying they had been (13 per cent). 98 per cent of young people had not tried other drugs.
  • Six per cent of young people did not engage in any risky behaviour, 16 per cent of young people engaged in three or more risky behaviours while 5 per cent engaged in four or more risky behaviours.


Related Links

Last edited: 16 May 2018 11:19 am