Gain insight in questions adolescents have about their health.
Cross-sectional questionnaire-based study.
During the 2015-2016 school year, all grade 3 VMBO students and grade 4 MAVO/VMBO-T, HAVO or VWO (MHV) students in schools of the mid-Gelderland region were invited for the preventive health study ‘Gezond leven? Check het even!’ [‘Living healthily? Do the check!’]. In class, adolescents completed a digital questionnaire (the ‘Check’), consisting of 70 questions about their health and well-being. For each topic, they could indicate if they had questions and whether they would have liked to have a conversation about them with a paediatrician or paediatric nurse or whether they would have liked to get digital information. The number of questions the adolescents had and the topics of these questions were described and compared with respect to gender, age, education level and ethnic background. Differences were analysed using logistic regression analysis.
A total of 7057 (93.5%) of the 7544 adolescents who were invited completed the questionnaire (mean age: 15.1 years; 50.8% male). All 2561 VMBO students were invited for a consultation and 94.7% were seen. Of the 4496 MHV students, 25.5% were invited and 20.2% were seen. 27% of the adolescents had a question. The main themes were height, weight and lifestyle. Girls requested a consultation more often (23.0% vs 18.0%). Of the adolescents with a non-western background, 31.0% requested a consultation whereas 19.0% of the adolescents with a western background did so. MHV students wanted a digital response more often. Adolescents with psychological problems had more problems as well as more questions.
The solution-oriented approach of the health study is a promising approach to reach adolescents in higher secondary education. As a result of this approach, many adolescents – including those from target groups that are usually difficult to reach – actively participated in the health study on their own initiative.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.