A 2013 U.S. government survey found that the rates of smoking, physical fights, and sex are dropping among high school students.
The report noticed that only 15.7 percent of high school students smoke. This is a huge improvement from only five years ago, when the number was a much higher 23 percent. 15.7 percent is great, especially considering the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had a “Healthy People 2020” goal of 16 percent.
Students are also less violent now, too. The survey that looked at of over 13,000 students showed that only 25 percent of students had a physical fight. Compared to 1991, where 42 percent of teens had been fights, this is looking pretty good.
On top of that, high school students are also less sexually active than they have been in the past. Although it is a small change, the percentage has fallen to 34 percent, down from the 38 percent in 1991.
“We are encouraged to see that high school students are making better choices in some areas like smoking and fighting,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said during a news briefing.
“I am also encouraged to see the reduction in the proportion of high school kids who are currently sexually active,” he continued. “We still think it’s too high, but the trend is going in the right direction.”
Even though most ‘bad behaviors’ went down, some things did go up. Cigar use among males went up to 23 percent, and percentage of teens who use smokeless tobacco is the same as it was in 1991. The use of e-cigarettes has also been going up.
“Although this report doesn’t have data on e-cigarette use among high school students, we know that e-cigarette use is skyrocketing, and we are concerned about that,” Frieden said. “We are particularly concerned with e-cigarettes ‘re-glamorizing’ smoking traditional cigarettes.”
The number of teens who text and drive also increased. Texting and driving can be a huge safety issue, and causes numerous deaths every year. A whopping 41 percent of high school students said that they participated in the activity last year.
Although most of the information was good news, there still needs to be more done to ensure teen safety.
“It’s not too much to ask that every kid born in this country reaches adulthood without an infection that they will have to deal with for the rest of their life, without nicotine addiction and at a healthy weight,” Fieden concluded.