New Reports Measure Health Risks and Behaviors of Vermonters

Good and bad news detailed in Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Adult Risk Behavior Survey, and Prevention Status Report

Vermont Department of Health

   News Release: January 23, 2014

 

Media Contact:
Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
802-863-7281
 
BURLINGTON – Two new reports that measure the health risks and behaviors of Vermonters from middle school through adulthood have just been published by the Health Department at www.healthvermont.gov.

The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered at school every other year to students in grades six through 12, and the annual phone-based 2012 Adult Behavioral Risk Factor Survey both detail the prevalence of a wide range of behaviors that affect health – from smoking, drinking and drug use, to physical activity, nutrition and weight, to violence and mental health status.

“We see hope and progress in these reports – and areas where we all need to refocus our efforts,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “While significantly fewer students drink, smoke or misuse prescription drugs, adult habits have not changed. And nearly 30 percent of students and 60 percent of adults are above a healthy weight, putting them at risk for a lifetime of chronic health problems.”

For the first time in 2013, the student survey asked a question about texting and driving. Among high school students who drive, more than one-third (35%) reported they texted or emailed while driving in the past 30 days. That number jumped to 56 percent among seniors.

“Research demonstrates that driving safely is a very complex series of actions, which require the operator’s full focus,” said Ted Minall, chief of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program at the Department of Public Safety. “Vermont state law prohibits texting while driving, and educators and parents have a responsibility to promote a no-texting message.”

The 2013 Prevention Status Report just published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention also rates states on the status of public health policies and practices designed to prevent or reduce important health problems. This new report – which covers excessive alcohol use, food safety, healthcare-associated infections, heart disease and stroke, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, teen pregnancy, and tobacco use – is available at: www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/psr

Youth and Adult Risk Behavior Survey Highlights:

Fewer students drink, while adult habits have not changed.

Fewer students smoke, while adult habits have not changed.

Prescription drug misuse is down among students, but remains steady among adults.

Marijuana use among middle and high school students as well as adults has not changed. Fewer students think marijuana use is harmful.

Nearly one-third of high school students and 60% of adults are over a healthy weight.

For more information about the surveys, highlights and full reports:

Youth Risk Behavior Survey – www.healthvermont.gov/research/yrbs.aspx
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (Adults) – www.healthvermont.gov/research/brfss/brfss.aspx

For health news, alerts and information - visit healthvermont.gov
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