2013 YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY
An increasing number of students are engaging in sexual behavior and bullying in school in the last 12 months, according to the results of the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey released by the Public School System on Friday.
Survey results showed that among students who had sex in the past three months, 45 percent used condoms. It was 35.6 percent in 2003; 43.1 percent in 2005; 40.1 percent in 2009; and 42.4 percent in 2011.
Bullying also remains an issue in public schools. Some 19.7 percent of students claim that they experienced being bullied on school property during the past 12 months. This was at 18.5 percent during the 2011 survey.
PSS conducts the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey every two years. Respondents are middle high and high school students in public schools.
The survey is designed to answer several priority questions or prevalence of priority health-risk behaviors such as unintentional injuries and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity of students.
The percentage of students “who used marijuana one or more times during their life” was nearly steady. In the 2013 survey, the percentage was at 62.1 percent; 61.6 percent in the 2011 survey; 61.9 percent in the 2009 survey; and 61 percent in 2007.
Results also indicated that the percentage of students who are overweight slightly increased from 16.7 percent in the 2011 survey to 16.8 percent in the 2013 survey. The number of students who are trying to lose weight is at an all-time high of 51.6 percent.
A slight drop was noted on the number of students who attend Physical Education classes daily in an average a week they were in school. The result was 24 percent in 2013 compared to 2011’s result at 29.9 percent.
The survey yielded significant improvements in other aspects, including in the areas of injury and violence, tobacco use, alcohol, and other drug use, among others.
Based on the PSS data, the number of students who carried a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club the past 30 days was lowest at 6.6 percent in 2013. In the 2011 survey, there was 8 percent; 8.1 percent in 2009; 9.5 percent in 2007; 6.2 percent in 2005; and 8.6 percent in 2003.
For tobacco use, 68.5 percent of respondents affirmatively responded that they tried cigarette smoking, even one or two puffs. However, this is the lowest recorded since the survey began in 2003.
The 2003 survey result on the tobacco use was at 85.9 percent; 81.6 percent in 2005; 77.6 percent in 2007; 75.2 percent in 2009; and 72.8 percent in 2011.
The percentage of students who smoked cigarettes on school property on one or more in the past 30 days also dropped by 50 percent, from 6.2 percent in the 2011 survey to 3.5 percent in 2013—the lowest since 2003, when the percentage was at 12.5 percent.
For alcohol and drug abuse, the survey for 2013 was also lowest in 10 years at 67.3 percent. The highest was in 2003 at 77.9 percent; 75.2 percent in 2005; 69.1 percent in 2007; 70.6 percent in 2009; and 71.4 percent in 2011.
In other areas such as percentage of students who strongly agree that their teachers really care about them and give them encouragements, the result was a high 64.2 percent. Students who described their grades in school as mostly As and Bs during the past 12 months was also high at 58.1 percent.