Survey offers peak into behavior of Connecticut teens

A 2013 survey of the state’s public high school students showed a decrease in teen alcohol use and binge drinking, over-the-counter drug abuse, physical fighting, and some risky sexual behaviors.

The surve also showed that Connecticut teens were less likely to be daily soda drinkers - 14 percent - than their peers nationwide - 27 percent. 

Data released by the state Department of Public Health Thursday also revealed that Connecticut youth were less likely than their peers across the country to receive at least eight hours of sleep every night - 24.2 percent compared to 31.7 percent. It also showed that while fewer used illegal drugs, Connecticut high schoolers reported having access to these drugs at school at a higher rate than the national average, 27.1 percent compared to 22.1 percent. 

“While the latest survey data show encouraging trends, there are still many Connecticut youth who engage in risky behaviors that compromise their health and future,” state health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen said in a news release. “Parents, educators, and peers can use this survey data to start conversations with students about how making smart choices (is) critical to growing up healthy and thriving in school.” 

The results continue to show an association between health risk behaviors and academic achievement. The latest school survey results show that in comparison to student reporting grades as mostly A’s, students reporting grades as mostly D’s and F’s are: more likely to drink and drive,y to have abused prescription drugs, to have been in a physical fight, to have poor eating habits, to watch excessive television after school, and to report having a sad or depressed mood. 

The Connecticut School Health Survey is part of a national survey that monitors health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and young adults. The 2013 survey included questions related to positive influences on teens’ lives; alcohol and drug use; diet and nutrition; physical and sexual activity, school environment and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. National and Connecticut results can be accessed at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. Connecticut results can also be found on the state's website

In 2013, 5,434 middle- and high-school students in the state completed the tobacco portion of the survey and 2,405 youth completed the behavior component.

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