Survey of teens' behavior finds fewer smoking or drinking, more being sedentary

Jul 25, 2012

A survey of Nebraska teens’ behaviors and activities shows fewer are smoking or drinking.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education administer the youth risk behavior survey. It’s given to randomly selected teens in Nebraska school districts that choose to participate. The survey began in 1991.

The 2011 results show 29 percent of ninth through 12th graders smoked cigarettes in 1991. Last year, that number was 15 percent. Alcohol use declined from 53 percent in 1991 to 27 percent last year.  

Dr. JoAnn Schaefer, Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer, says she’s concerned by findings in two new areas of the study. The 2011 survey found 45 percent of teens reported texting or emailing while driving. Also, 23 percent of students reported being bullied on school property within the previous year.

Dr. Schaefer says she’s also concerned by the results on activity and nutrition. 54 percent of students indicated they got enough exercise. Half spent at least three hours a day watching TV or playing video games.

The youth risk behavior survey was given to 3,832 public high school students. The Omaha Public Schools will participate in a modified version of the youth risk behavior survey this coming school year.