Skip to content

NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey: 2008

 healthy fruit and vege

Background

In 2008, the NSW Department of Health conducted the third NSW Secondary Schools Health Behaviours (SSHB) Survey. It was part of the triennial Australian Schools Students Alcohol and Drugs (ASSAD) Survey, which began in 1984.

The 2008 survey involved 7,874 students in Years 7-12 from NSW Government, Catholic and Independent secondary schools.

It was based on a self-administered questionnaire, which included questions on nutrition and eating, physical activity and height and weight (including perception of body mass). Trends in the results from the 2008 survey and previous SHHB and ASSAD surveys were examined.

Key findings

Weight

  • Around one in five (21.4%) students was overweight or obese, based on self-reported height and weight.
  • Between 2005 and 2008, there was no significant change in the proportion of students who were overweight or obese.
  • Around one in 10 (10.8%) students who perceived themselves to be too thin or about the right weight were assessed as overweight or obese, based on their self-reported height and weight.

Nutrition

  • Less than half (46.5%) of the surveyed students consumed an adequate amount of fruit every day.
  • Between 2002 and 2008, there was a significant increase in the proportion of students who ate an adequate daily amount of fruit.
  • Around a quarter (24.5%) consumed an adequate amount of vegetables every day.
  • Between 1996 and 2008, there was a significant increase in the proportion of students who ate an adequate daily amount of vegetables. 
  • Over a quarter (27.9%) consumed adequate amounts of grain foods, such as bread, rice and pasta.
  • Less than four in 10 (37.8%) students drank reduced fat or skim milk, as recommended for older children and young people.
  • Over half (58.2%) drank less than five cups of water each day.
  • About three out of 10 (30.8%) drank soft drink, energy drinks, fruit juice or cordial on five or more occasions each week.

Physical activity

  • Just over one in 10 (13.3%) had the recommended daily amount of physical activity.
  • Just over nine in 10 (91.7%) were sedentary for at least two hours a day when not at school (not including doing homework).
  • Between 2002 and 2008, there was no significant change in the proportion of students who did the minimum recommended daily amount physical activity.
  • Between 1996 and 2008, there was a significant increase in the proportion of students who were sedentary for more than two hours a day when not at school (not including doing homework).