New survey shows how young people are changing

COMMENT: You showed that you all really care about others

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Newspapers are often accused of focusing solely on the bad things in life, so it is nice to be able to report a positive trend.

Portsmouth City Council recently conducted its annual survey of school pupils, titled You Say, to look at the attitudes and behaviour of young people relating to healthy living.

It was completed by thousands of Year 8 and 10 pupils across the city, and asked questions about alcohol and drug use as well as weight issues.

The results suggest that the number of young people who had drunk a whole alcoholic drink had dropped from 51 to 42 per cent in 2015.

Similarly, there was a promising rise in the numbers who said they had never smoked a cigarette.

The figure for Year 10s had risen from 72 to 79 per cent, year-on-year.

Conversely this does obviously suggest that one in five pupils had tried smoking, but an improvement is obviously a step in the right direction.

The cynics among us might suggest that the teens have perhaps been less than honest with their answers – after all who wants to give answers that reflect negatively, even if it is done anonymously?

But these numbers do seem to reflect an ongoing broader change in societal attitudes among the younger generation.

Twenty to 30, or more years ago, going out and enjoying a lifestyle based around drinking or casual drug use was more the norm.

Wider surveys have also shown that younger people have been turning their backs on drink and drugs for some time.

Whether it is a reaction against what came before, or a genuine desire to lead healthier lifestyles, the outcome is the same.

Anything that minimises the future burden on an increasingly creaky National Health Service can only be a good thing.