First Territorial Health Behaviours in School-Aged Children Report Released

November 6, 2012
News Releases

YELLOWKNIFE (November 6, 2012) – The Department of Education, Culture and Employment, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Services, released a report today exploring the health perceptions, choices and experiences of school-aged children in the Northwest Territories (NWT).  The report, titled Health and Health-Related Behaviours Among Young People: Northwest Territories, is based upon data collected through the national Health Behaviours in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study.

“Every student deserves a good education and a high quality of life and NWT schools play a more central role in promoting healthy choices and behaviours  than in many other parts of Canada,” said the Honourable Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment.  “By working with the Department of Health and Social Services, we have a significant opportunity to foster both a positive learning environment and help encourage constructive choices and healthy behaviour.”

The HBSC study aims to gain new insight and increased understanding of the health, wellbeing and health behaviours of young people and their social contexts, especially in the school environment. The 2010-11 report is the first time that information on the health behaviours and choices of NWT youth has been provided to the territory. It provides valuable information to identify areas of concern in the Northwest Territories and to help focus programming to improve the health-related behaviours of our young people.

“Healthy behaviors and best practices for life start in the school environment, everyone has a role to play to encourage children to make healthy lifestyle choices. I am pleased with the results of this report,” said Minister of Health and Social Services, Tom Beaulieu.

“In examining the connections between contextual factors and mental health, one key theme emerges: interpersonal relationships matter,” said Dr. John Freeman, Director of the Social Program Evaluation Group at Queen's University and co-Principal Investigator of the HBSC study. “No matter how mental health is measured and no matter what interpersonal relationship is concerned, adolescents with positive interpersonal relationships tend to fare better in terms of mental health.”

The HBSC is conducted every four years by Queen’s University in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada. Data is collected through school-based self-report surveys among 11 to 15 year-olds. This age group represents the life-period when physical and emotional changes take place and important life and career decisions are beginning to be made. These results can reveal much about the long-term health choices our young people are making

The national 2010 HBSC report, The Health of Canada’s Young People: a mental health focus, was released earlier this year.

 For more information, please contact:

Jacqueline Mckinnon                                                 Damien Healy
Manager, Public Affairs                                             Communications Manager
Education, Culture and Employment                   Health and Social Services
Phone: (867) 920-6222                                               Phone: (867) 920-8927
Email: jacqueline_mckinnon@gov.nt.ca            Email: damien_healy@gov.nt.ca