Hawaii high school students making better health choices - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii high school students making better health choices

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii teenagers are making positive changes; however there is still room for improvement. That is according to the latest youth risk behavior survey by the Hawaii State Departments of Health and Education done every two years.

Important findings from the survey include:

  • The percentage of high school students who report attempting suicide in the past 12 months decreased significantly from 13 percent in 2009 to 9 percent in 2011.
  • Fewer high school students are drinking alcohol or binge drinking, but 29 percent still report drinking some alcohol in the past 30 days.
  • Marijuana use remains steady with 22 percent of high school students reporting use in the past 30 days.
  • Hawai‘i high school students are less likely to have ever had sex than students nationally (37 percent versus 47 percent).
  • There has been a slight decrease in the percentage of high school students who are obese (13 percent down from 15 percent in 2007).

Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi explained: "These data demonstrate the important role of DOE wellness policy in reinforcing classroom instruction and supporting positive health behaviors. The results are encouraging and show that we are on the right track, but there is much left to be done."

Health Director Loretta Fuddy added: "The data indicate that our youth are responding positively to interventions aimed at developing healthy behaviors. The optimistic survey results are an example of the success of the long standing partnership between the DOH and DOE to monitor and track student health and behavior."

Detailed data reports by student, gender, grade and race/ethnicity are available from the DOH website, www.hawaii.gov/health , and at the Hawai‘i Health Data Warehouse website, www.hhdw.org. The YRBS is part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For a comparison of Hawai‘i data to national figures, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth.  County-level data reports will be released later this summer.

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