A new government survey on teens and health risk behaviors has been released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) looks at six types of health risk behaviors that contribute to leading causes of death and disability. The National Risk Behavior Survey was given to over 13,000 high schoolers in 2013 and noted the following:
1) If you think your message to not text and drive is falling on deaf ears, you may be right. 41.4% of teens admitting they are texting or emailing while driving a car despite all the directives to not text and drive.
2) Smoking marijuana, having sex and heavy TV watching have not decreased among teens in the past two years.
3) Students report spending more time in front of computers. That means more sedentary behavior!
4) Students also are more likely to carry a gun, not necessarily to school, but reported carrying a gun at least once in a 30-day period.
5) Cigarette smoking is seeing a decline. This is important in that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable fatal disease. But more kids are trying e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, thinking these are safe alternatives. They are not!
6) Teen drinking ranges from 11% (Utah) to 39.3% (New Jersey) in others. Underage drinking remains a problem.
7) Use of hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc. has fallen, but marijuana use remains about the same (23.4%). And the next survey in 2015 will factor in the rising legalization of pot in several states.
8) Condom use has dropped slightly even thought sexual activity is reported to be about the same (46.8%).
9) Since questions about electronic bullying were added in 2011, teens report a drop from 16.2% to 14.8%, but also reported a rise in feeling unsafe at school.
10) Finally, teens report a slight rise in suicidal feelings. We have to do better when it comes to identifying teens at risk for suicide and depression.