Health (Heart) Beat

Children's Voice, March/April 2005 | Go to article overview
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Health (Heart) Beat


Parents Key to Preventing Underage Drinking

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have analyzed survey data from the National Evaluation of the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program, which surveyed 6,245 teens by telephone. The analysis indicates that teens are twice as likely to binge drink and use alcohol if their parents or friends' parents provide alcohol at their home for a party.

Kristie Foley, principal investigator for the study, reports, "Parents have good intentions, thinking the teenagers won't drink and drive, that they are safer staying at home, but it sends the wrong message. Adolescents interpret this behavior as an approval to drink alcoholic beverages."

The study also shows that parents who set strict consequences for breaking the house rules regarding drinking can help prevent underage drinking. The risk of being caught and receiving a severe punishment is a deterrent to teens. The study's findings were published in the October 2004 Journal of Adolescent Health, available online at www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/jah/issues.

Prevention Practitioners Have A New Tool for Evaluation

The Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC) has developed The Power of Proof: An Evaluation Primer, a new online tool to facilitate evaluation of substance abuse prevention programs. The guide is intended to help practitioners prove a programs success through evaluation and demonstrate how to use evaluation to create community support for a particular prevention strategy.

TTAC has capitalized on technology to produce concrete information on how to plan and write an evaluation, effective ways to collect and interpret data, various types of evaluations, and how to create a comprehensive report of an evaluation's results. Besides providing essential feedback on whether a program is doing what is intended, effective evaluation documentation is now required by most funding entities. Evaluation can also provide a feedback loop for continuous quality improvement in program design and implementation.

The complete primer is available online at www.ttac.org/power-of-proof.

Get Physical

The numbers are as frightening as the calorie count for a Quarter Pounder with cheese. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 5 million American kids are obese, and 15% of children ages 6-19 (double the number 20 years ago) suffer from obesity-related disorders.

According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, nearly half of young people ages 12-21, and more than one-third of high school students, do not participate in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis. Fewer than one in four children gets 20 minutes of vigorous activity daily.

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