Health Topics Most Important to Teens

Health Topics Most Important to Teens

What do Qatari adolescents worry about when it comes to their health? To answer this, we asked which health issues are “very” important to them personally. The top health issue cited by Qatari respondents was hygiene, followed with some distance by dental health and sleep. Fitness and exercise, diet and nutrition, cancer, road safety, and heart disease are also very important for at least half of our respondents.

Interestingly, only about a fifth of all Qatari teens between 13 and 20 said “issues around puberty” were very important to them personally. That changes once we look at younger (13-15 years) and older teens (16-20 years) separately. The older group were more likely than their younger counterparts (at least ten percentage points apart) to say that issues surrounding puberty, reproductive health and bullying were very important to them personally.

Analyzing the data by gender revealed that girls ranked the personal importance of eight health issues considerably higher than boys (by at least ten percentage points). Girls were more likely than boys to rank the following topics as “very important” to them personally: domestic violence, cancer, heart disease, depression, allergies, eating disorders, hygiene and sleep (Table 3).

TABLE 3

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Qatari teens’ perceptions of which health issues their friends care “a lot” about are a close reflection of the issues they find personally significant. Respondents said that the top five health issues of significance for their friends were hygiene, dental health, sleep, cancer, diet and nutrition--followed by fitness and exercise, heart disease, and road safety (Table 4).

TABLE 4