Terhi Luntamo looked at the health of 10,000 children between 1989 and 2005. She found that 25 percent of them complained of headaches, 15 percent of stomach pains and 30 percent had difficulty in getting enough sleep.
Finnish children had more pain symptoms and sleep problems than those in other Nordic countries. Luntamo also found that a great deal of pain symptoms were not picked up by children’s parents.
She also found that certain symptoms predicted health problems in later life. She recommends that healthcare professionals ask about psychiatric problems, substance use, victimisation and relations with teachers when children report pain symptoms or insomnia.
Luntamo's dissertation was presented at Turku University on Friday 24 May.