A new study found that 26 per cent of Grade 4 children in the Lower Mainland report they are unhealthy and unhappy.

The well-being of the 3,026 students surveyed also depended on what neighbourhood they were from. Children from well-off neighbourhoods tended to be happier than those from poorer neighbourhoods.

“Supportive relationships were a major predictor of overall well-being, and not just with parents,” said Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, principal investigator of the study and associate professor at UBC’s department of educational and counselling psychology, and special education.

She found that after-school activities, physical health, and positive relationships with peers and adults were all associated with well-being. Schonert-Reichl recommends “quality, subsidized after-school care for everyone, with a range of activities that are responsive to children and family’s needs.”

She developed the measure of well-being with the Vancouver School Board, United Way of the Lower Mainland, and UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership over the past four years, and conducted the survey in January 2010.

Schonert-Reichl said she hopes her findings will be “a way to engage, instigate discussion, and rally the troops to get to action.”