The Department of Health conducts a survey among high school and now middle school students in Vermont every two years to query about behaviors that are known to contribute to injury and disease. The 2011 survey has recently been recently released. Highlights for the 2011 survey in comparison to the 2009 survey include the following.
Alcohol Use: the rate of ever using alcohol fell from 66% to 60%
Nicotine: the rate of ever smoking a whole cigarette fell from 31% to 24%
Cannabis: Use remains high and unchanged with 24% reporting use in the last 30 days
Sex: 41% of students report having had sex
Obesity: The rate of being obese or overweight based on BMI was 23% and statistically unchanged from 2009
Self Harm: 13% of students state that they tried to hurt themselves without intent to die in the past year
Depression: 19% of the sample reported that they felt sad and hopeless for most of the day for at least two weeks (close to the 21% rate in 2009)
Middle School Survey (Grades 6-8)
Alcohol: the rate of ever using alcohol was 23%
Nicotine: 13% of students have tried a cigarette
Cannabis: the rate of ever using cannabis was 13%
Bullying: 48% of the sample report having been bullied at school
Physical Activity: 31% of the sample state that they get an hour of physical activity per day
Screen Time: 26% and 29% of students say they spend three hours a day or more watching TV or playing video games, respectively
These data reveal some promising trends but illustrate a startling number of our youth who continue to engage in high risk behavior that can have enormous consequences. For further information or to see the questionnaire or more detailed results, click here.