An Unhealthy Future?

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Written by Ashleigh Donaldson on in Strathclyde and West

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‘Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time’ – 1979, Smashing Pumpkins

The city of Glasgow is often dubbed the unhealthiest city in Scotland.  With its high levels of obesity and high percentage of smokers, this comes as no surprise. Drugs and alcohol are often thought to add to Glasgow’s failing health. Various studies show that it has the biggest proportion of smokers, roughly 29%.  In recent years, more and more young people have taken up the habit, putting the future of their health and subsequently the city’s health, in jeopardy. However, in a recent article featured in the Herald, it was found that fewer young people are smoking, drinking and taking drugs than they were three years ago.  Three quarters of pupils aged between 12 and 15 questioned in 2010 said they had never tried smoking, compared with 61% three years ago. The article also found that the number of young people in first to fourth year that had reported of trying illegal drugs has almost halved in three years, from 17% to 9%.  As for drinking, 59% of pupils surveyed said they had not tried alcohol, compared with the 47% in 2007. These encouraging signs indicate a healthier future as we can see a significant difference in the attitudes of young people. These figures allow for a better and brighter future for Glasgow’s young people.

There is no denying that Glasgow is known for its ‘booze culture’ and it is often considered to be a ‘rough’ city. What is not documented often enough however, are the positive steps being taken by young people and the changes they are making to their lives. There are many creative means through which young people get involved, allowing them to participate in workshops or programmes with other teenagers. They get the chance to meet new people and learn new skills. Joining a club or getting involved with a youth group also means that they are not entertaining themselves with alcohol, drugs or smoking.  However, young people don‘t necessarily need a particular focus of interest or hobby in order to distract themselves from the temptations around them. Plenty of young people are capable of rational thought and simply choose a healthier future.  It is often found, that those who do smoke, drink or take drugs, do it because they want to fit in, they want to be considered ‘cool’ and ‘popular’.  So do these recent figures really indicate a healthier future for Glasgow’s young people or are young people all going to get involved with drugs and alcohol at one point or another? Do they have a choice in the matter, considering the widespread peer pressure today?

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