Teenagers in Ireland are drinking less alcohol, have improved communication with their parents and are in generally better health than a decade ago. 

However, a major new study has found they face increased pressures in education, with no reduction in bullying and greater demands when it comes to school work.

The report - overseen by the World Health Organisation - looks at the habits and happiness of 11 to 15 year olds in over 40 countries. 

The Irish element of the research was conducted by the Health Promotion Research Centre in NUI Galway. 

It finds that children from less well off backgrounds have more health complaints.

One of the report's authors, Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, said this was a cause for concern.

She said the increase in social inequality here meant that the gap between rich and poor had widened over the 16 years covered by the survey. 

In a broader context, the report says that many adolescents living in Europe and North America still do not meet the recommendations for healthy living.

The research looks at everything from eating habits, obesity and physical activity to bullying, safe sex and the use of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.