Sur­vey looks at young Ki­wis

Central Leader - - NEWS -

The next gen­er­a­tion of New Zealan­ders may be bet­ter be­haved but many are also job­less and poverty-stricken.

New Auck­land Univer­sity re­search shows the coun­try’s sec­ondary school pupils are drink­ing and smok­ing less and driv­ing more care­fully.

But the num­ber with af­ter-school jobs has dropped steadily in the past 12 years to about one in four.

More are wor­ried about their par­ents not be­ing able to af­ford food, and about 10 per cent suf­fer from over­crowd­ing, with their fam­ily us­ing the liv­ing room as a makeshift bed­room.

Obe­sity, de­pres­sion and self-harm re­main sig­nif­i­cant hur­dles for many young peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly in parts of New Zealand with high lev­els of de­pri­va­tion.

The re­port is based on a 2012 sur­vey of 8500 pupils from year 9 to 13.

It is the third Health and Well­be­ing of New Zealand Sec­ondary School Stu­dents re­port, with the first in 2001.

Ter­ryann Clark, one of the re­port’s pri­mary in­ves­ti­ga­tors, says there had been a clear de­cline in ‘‘risk-tak­ing be­hav­iours’’ among youths.

They were smok­ing and drink­ing less and get­ting into fewer fights.

‘‘The re­port in­di­cates some strong pos­i­tive trends which rep­re­sent huge gains for the fu­ture of New Zealand,’’ Ms Clark says.

How­ever, there re­mained a big gap in out­come for the ‘‘haves’’ and the ‘‘have nots’’ among sec­ondary school pupils, which showed no sign of nar­row­ing, she says.

Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern was that more ado­les­cents were now obese – about 12 per cent – com­pared with when the sur­vey was last con­ducted in 2007.

More than a third were ei­ther obese or over­weight, a num­ber that jumped to more than 60 per cent in ar­eas of high de­pri­va­tion.

Teenagers in ar­eas of high de­pri­va­tion were less likely to have a job, a room to them­selves or see enough of their par­ents.

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