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Nearly a fifth of parents fear children will ignore health issues while at university

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Nearly a fifth of parents fear their teenager will ignore a health issue while at university, as many self-diagnose on Google, research has found.

Just 13 per cent of the 2,000 parents polled think their son or daughter would consult a proper doctor as soon as they feel unwell.

More than one in 10 (12 per cent) think their offspring would be too lazy to seek medical attention, and 11 per cent fear they do not make their health a priority.

The study of parents whose children either attend university, have done in the past or plan to soon, by Bupa Family+, also found that many (53 per cent) said their child thinks they are ‘invincible’ and nothing bad will ever happen to them.

And as thousands of students prepare to start university, 56 per cent of parents feel excited for their child while 41 per cent are anxious.

Dr Naveen Puri, GP and spokesperson for Bupa Family+, which commissioned the research to support the launch of its Family+ insurance proposition built around savings on health insurance for families, said: “All parents worry about their children, whatever their age.

“But it can be especially difficult when they move out for the first time and become more independent – and you are no longer nearby to help them.

“As a child and even a young adult, when you are unwell or have a health issue, your parents are often your first port of call, or even the ones spotting something is wrong in the first place.

“They are usually the ones pointing you in the right direction, sorting appointments and arranging medication you might need.

“Moving out or going to university is both an exciting and daunting time for all the family and we hope our new Family+ cover, which also insures older children, will help provide peace of mind to parents and their children alike.”

It also emerged that parents’ top fears for their children as they embark on life away from the family home include their financial situation (44 per cent), their mental health (43 per cent), and whether they will be lonely (43 per cent).

Others worry about who they will be spending time with (31 per cent), if they’ll know how to look after themselves (32 per cent) and what they’ll do when they feel unwell (23 per cent).

And 64 per cent of those who have a child who has already left home admitted they have even lost sleep worrying about them.

It emerged that 55 per cent think they would still be the first port of call for help or advice if their child felt unwell despite no longer living under the same roof.

Ahead of them moving out, 63 per cent of parents will teach them how to manage their finances, while 59 per cent give tips on how to cook healthy meals.

Others show their child how to use a washing machine (56 per cent), how to drink responsibly (40 per cent) and how to deal with mental health concerns (43 per cent).

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also revealed girls are considered more likely to take care of their physical (43 per cent) and mental (41 per cent) health than boys (13 per cent and 11 per cent).

Dr Naveen Puri, GP and spokesperson for Bupa Family+ said: “Our health is so important, and it can be worrying for parents that their child may be unwell when they aren’t there to help.

“Making sure they have the knowledge about what to do in different health situations is a great way of not only ensuring they can look after themselves but also allows you to relax a little knowing they have the tools they need.”

Here are the top reasons why parents worry their child would ignore health issues:

1. Googling and self-diagnosing

2. Being too lazy

3. Health is not a priority

4. Embarrassed to talk about their health

5. Worried a GP would judge them

Following the findings, Bupa has launched an online survival guide to help students in this next chapter in their lives.