High school student health, safety survey results for Pierce County releasedNews from the 2011 Pierce County Youth Risk Behavior Survey measured overall student health and safety.
High school student health, safety survey results for Pierce County released
News from the 2011 Pierce County Youth Risk Behavior Survey measured overall student health and safety.
“The data from our high school students show that the many prevention and intervention programs and policies our schools have adopted have us on the right track,” said Sue Galoff, Public Health director for Pierce County. “Health, safety and risky behaviors can present real barriers to a student’s education and well-being.”
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction administers the Youth Risk Behavior Survey every two years. The statewide results will be available in late fall of 2011.
For the 2011 survey in Pierce County, 1,630 students completed a questionnaire that covered seven priorities: Protective assets, traffic safety, weapons and violence, suicide, tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, and nutrition and exercise. Survey procedures protect student privacy through anonymous and voluntary participation that includes following local parental permission procedures.
The survey is part of a national effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to monitor health-risk behaviors among the nation’s high school students.
Overall, 82% of students said they had a supportive adult at home, 65% said they had one or more adults at school they could go to if they had a problem, and more than 64% of students said they feel like they have a sense of belonging at school.
“Fitting in, having adults you can talk to, getting encouragement when things don’t go as well as you like: These are important in anyone’s life, but especially so for high school students who are navigating their way into adulthood,” Tammy Kincaid, Human Services director said. “A school where students feel welcome and free from bullying and threats of violence sets a strong foundation for academic achievement and lifelong development. Having a network of supportive adults helps youth avoid risky behaviors that can be a detriment to themselves and their education.” Kincaid went on to say.
Details of the report revealed the following information. Tobacco usage in Pierce County continues to decline (44% in 2009 in Wisconsin to 32.5% in Pierce County for 2011) for students who reported having tried cigarette smoking. However, alcohol usage is still high. A large percentage of Wisconsin high school students reported drinking alcohol. The percentage of students reporting binge drinking (five or more drinks of alcohol in a row) in Wisconsin is higher than most states.
In Pierce County, 21% of students compared to 25% for the state, reported binge drinking in the past 30 days and 34% of the students in Pierce County reported drinking alcohol during the last 30 days.
Trends for marijuana use in Wisconsin rose between 1993 and 2009. Students in Wisconsin reported using marijuana at least once in their life, from 23% in 1993 to 34% in 2009. By comparison, in Pierce County 25% of students reported having tried marijuana at least once in their life and 15% reported having tried marijuana during the last 30 days.
The 2011 survey results also showed:
Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health and Counseling Services at UW-River Falls added, “Many students come to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with established health behaviors. For example, the University of Wisconsin System Alcohol and Other Drug Survey administered to our students in 2007 indicated that fifty-eight percent of our students drank about the same or less alcohol in college as they did the year before starting college. In addition, we know that students’ health behaviors impact their academics.
“Secondary analysis of the 2009 National College Health Assessment data from our students indicated that alcohol use more than one to two days per month, smoking cigarettes/tobacco use, marijuana use, sleep difficulties, six or more mental health stressors, and three or more hours/day using computer not for academics or work were all associated with lower grade point average.
“We work together on campus and with the community to address many of these complex issues.”