Wellbeing of Wales, 2022: children and young people’s wellbeing - Main points
This supplementary report is an extract of the analysis contained in the Well-being of Wales report concerning the wellbeing of children.
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There have been mixed long-term results in terms of a healthy start in life, with a relatively stable trend in low birth weight babies, but improvements in breastfeeding take-up and reductions in pregnant women recorded as smokers at initial assessment.
New data from Foundation Phase baseline assessments show how children have developed before entering school, with the latest data reporting on the academic year 2021 to 2022 following the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021-22, 66% of 16 to 24 year olds think that climate change is mainly or entirely due to human activity. 97% think human activity is involved to some extent in the world’s climate changing.
Personal well-being declines with age and amongst those self-identifying as neither a boy nor a girl.
The national milestone on children’s healthy lifestyle behaviours is to increase the percentage of children with two or more healthy behaviours to 94% by 2035 and more than 99% by 2050. The data shows the percentage of children meeting the national milestone remains at 88% (in the 2019/20 academic year) and has remained stable since data collection started in the 2013/14 academic year.
Most healthy lifestyle behaviours deteriorate in secondary school.
Data from the 2019/20 academic year shows that on average, problematic social media use increased with age and was higher in girls than boys.
Adverse Childhood Experience studies highlight the relationship between harmful experiences in childhood with negative long-term outcomes.
The most recent report from the School Health Research Network Student Health and Wellbeing survey comparing mental wellbeing findings from before to during the pandemic (2019 to 2021) found a fall in mental wellbeing for 11 to 16 years olds.
Children are the population group most likely to be in relative income poverty, with the latest data showing that 31% were living in income poverty.
Fewer children live in workless households, with falls in the latest year and over the medium-term.
Attainment in primary and secondary school has risen in recent years, although children from deprived backgrounds still have poorer outcomes.
Participation in education, employment or training for young people post-compulsory education has been increasing in recent years.
Attendance and participation in the arts have been increasing over the past decade.
The highest rates of Welsh speaking ability and use is seen amongst children, although this is not maintained in post-compulsory education.
One in ten secondary school pupils are bullied weekly, and these figures are relatively high within the UK.