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CDC Issues High School Risk Behavior Survey

Last updated on Tuesday, December 11, 2007

(UNDATED) - Indiana high school students are smoking less and eating better.

A biannual survey by the Centers for Disease Control finds slightly more high schoolers are smokers than two years ago. But the number who have ever tried cigarettes has dropped four points to 53-percent.

State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe says that improvement needs to happen first: Monroe credits the state's INShape Indiana program with a slight decrease in the number of overweight students, and a sharp increase in the number who get regular exercise. That figure's gone from just under a third to nearly half.

The youth risk behavior survey measures high school students' habits in six areas: nutrition and weight, tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, physical activity, sexual behavior, and violence and injuries.

The survey indicates 49-percent of Indiana high schoolers have lost their virginity, and 37-percent remain sexually active. Both figures are up from two years ago, but the CDC says the changes are not statistically significant.

Monroe says she's troubled by findings that nine-percent of students now sometimes carry a gun, up sharply from six-percent two years ago. She says weapons and violence issues are among the toughest to resolve through the public health system.

The state is working with Indiana University on an outreach program to adolescents to get a better idea of how to communicate youth health messages most effectively.

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