Irish teenagers have one of the lowest 'life satisfaction' rates in Europe, UNICEF study shows

Irish teenagers have one of the lowest 'life satisfaction' rates in Europe, UNICEF study shows

IRISH TEENAGERS are among the least satisfied with their lives compared with their counterparts in wealthy nations around the world.

Data compiled by UNICEF recorded several measures of childhood wellbeing and development across 38 countries.

It found that more than one in four Irish youngsters rated their satisfaction with life lower than five out of 10.

Ireland had one of the lowest rates of adolescent life satisfaction rates in the survey, at 72%.

Mental health, body image issues and physical health were among some of the concerns raised in the survey, along with pressure to succeed in school, bullying and a sense of meaning/purpose in life.

Ireland ranked 26th our of 38 nations for mental wellbeing, with the Netherlands, Cyprus and Spain taking the top three spots, while those in Turkey had the lowest life satisfaction rate, at just 52%.

Ireland also ranked in 17th place in the category of physical wellbeing, with Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland taking the top spots.

Over a quarter (27%) of Irish 11 to 15-year-olds said they were too fat while 14% said they were too thin. Girls in Ireland are among the most likely in the survey to link life satisfaction with body image, along with teenagers in Scotland, Finland and the Netherlands.

The report also noted that six in 100,000 Irish teenagers commit suicide every year.

UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power said: "The situation for children in Ireland is improving, which shows that we have been taking the right steps.

"But change takes time and we are now facing a significant economic threat. Investing in child wellbeing brings reliable and positive outcomes in the long-term, and it is the right thing to do.

"We must study the lessons learned during the last recession, when children bore the brunt of austerity measures. The Government must continue to invest in child well-being, during this difficult economic period, or face spikes in child poverty and inequality."