Oregon Youth: Doing Well

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), July 23, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Oregon Youth: Doing Well

Byline: The Register-Guard

Oregon teenagers are a healthy lot and have generally positive attitudes about themselves, according to results of a new Oregon Healthy Teens survey - news that runs counter to the perception that too many young people neglect their health and are angst-ridden.

Ninety-nine percent of all students responding to the survey said their physical health was fair to excellent and about 96 percent said the same for their mental and emotional health. Three-quarters said they regularly get physical exams or check-ups.

Asked if they believed they can "do most things if I try," 93 percent of eighth-graders and 95 percent of 11th-graders said that was "very true" or "pretty much true." Asked if they believe they can "work out" their problems, the numbers were 84 percent and 88 percent, respectively.

Eighty-five percent of eighth-graders and 71 percent of 11th-graders also said they get at least an hour of exercise three or more days a week. And more than 60 percent of all students reported having eaten breakfast five or more days in the previous week.

The Oregon survey is a joint project of the Oregon Health Authority and the state Department of Education. The 2011 report comes after the release last month of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included 43 states but not Oregon.

The CDC survey consisted of 86 questions and reported responses from 15,000 high school students nationwide. The Oregon survey analyzed responses from nearly 4,000 eighth-graders and nearly 3,800 11th-graders and consisted of 139 questions. Both surveys are voluntary and anonymous.

The national survey garnered attention for some unexpected findings, including a decline in the percentage of teenagers who said they drank alcohol while driving in the month before taking the survey, and one-third reporting they'd texted or e-mailed while driving. That survey also showed that more teenagers admitted to smoking marijuana than cigarettes - 23 percent compared to 18 percent.

In the Oregon survey 11 percent of the eighth-graders and 21 percent of the 11-graders said they'd used marijuana one or more times in the preceding month.

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