More high school students in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are texting or emailing while driving, but fewer appear to be having sex or binge drinking, according to a biennial survey.
Every odd year since 2001, the school district has participated in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national school-based survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor health risk behaviors that contribute to death, disability and social problems among our nation’s youth.
The survey examines behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries or violence, tobacco/vaping use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, unhealthy dietary behaviors, inadequate physical activity and mental health.
The school district's Healthy Schools Committee as well as other committees and programs use the data to set district health goals that parallel national and North Carolina health goals.
Highlights from the 2017 survey:
▪ High school students who said they drove while texting or emailing was UP from 17 percent to 21 percent.
▪ Middle school students who said they do not wear a seatbelt as a passenger was UP from 22 percent to 32 percent. High school students who said they rode with a driver who had been drinking was DOWN from 16 percent to 12 percent
▪ In the past year 22 percent of high school students and 15 percent of middle school students had seen a mental health professional; 19 percent of high school students and 11 percent of middle school students were prescribed mental health related medication. (new questions)
▪ High school students who had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days was DOWN from 29 percent to 23 percent, and high schoolers who binge drank in the past 30 days was DOWN from 14 percent to 10 percent. These were both continuing downward trends.
▪ High school students who had used marijuana in the past 30 days was DOWN from 22 percent to 18 percent.
▪ Middle school students who had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days was UP from 2 percent to 5 percent, and middle schoolers who had used marijuana in the past 30 days was UP from 1 percent to 3 percent.
▪ High school students who had ever had sex continued to go DOWN, from 30 percent to 26 percent, and those who’d had sex before age 16 was down from 18 percent to 14 percent.
▪ High school students who said they had been bullied was down from 18 percent to 11 percent. Middle schoolers who had witnessed bullying at school was also DOWN, from 65 percent to 59 percent.
▪ High school students who said teachers don’t care about them or give encouragement was UP from 42 percent to 47 percent.
▪ Overall tobacco use was DOWN for high school students including E-cigs and vaping and UP for middle schoolers. High school students who had ever tried an e-cig/vapor product was DOWN 37 percent to 29 percent.
▪ High schoolers that used a vape/ecig in past 30 days was DOWN to 13 percent from 19 percent. For middle schoolers, this was UP to 3 percent from 1 percent in 2015.