Monday, May 3, 2004

Survey finds Ohio teens'
health habits improving

Study: Ohio kids work out, avoid drugs and sex, wear seat belts

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Ohio's teenagers exercise, wear seat belts and avoid drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sex more often than their counterparts five years ago, according to a new study.

In fact, the Ohio Department of Health study released last week indicates that almost all of the health habits of Ohio teens have improved during the past five years.

"Ohio's teenagers understand healthy behaviors are important," department director J. Nick Baird said. "This bodes well for Ohio's future, as we often carry learned behaviors into adulthood."

The study, conducted last year of about 1,200 high school students, found:

• 68 percent of Ohio teens reported that they exercise regularly, up from 62 percent in 1999, the last time the statewide survey was conducted.

• 76 percent reported having tried alcohol, down from 85 percent in 1999.

• 90 percent said they didn't drink and drive in the month before the survey.

• Tobacco use fell 45 percent to 22.2 percent.

State officials credit interventions, including the Healthy Ohioans Program and antismoking programs such as "stand," part of the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation, for the improvements.

Healthy Ohioans is sponsored by the health department and American Cancer Society.

In some areas teens did not show improvement since 1999.

About 32 percent of Ohio teens reported watching three or more hours of television on school days, up from 30 percent in 1999, and more students, 14 percent, describes themselves as overweight, up from 10 percent in 1999.

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