Indiana teens haven’t reduced their risky behavior by much in the past two years, according to the results of a national survey released Thursday.Drug and alcohol use was down but the smoking rates flat-lined. The percentage of teens reporting they had sex remained unchanged. And while Indiana teens reported that they get more exercise than the average teen, they don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables and too many of them are obese.The Indiana State Department of Health released the results of the 2009 youth risk behavioral survey. Teens in grades 9 through 12 at participating schools across Indiana answered the confidential survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The results are used to gauge current programs and public health policies, to develop new programs and to demonstrate need when applying for grant funding, state health officials said Thursday.
teen smoking vices
“The problem area continues to be nutritional choices, obesity,” said Dr. Gregory Larkin, state health commissioner. “We have seen some improvement in tobacco choices.”Twenty-three percent of Indiana teens said they had smoked a cigarette during the past month, which is up from 22 percent from the 2007 survey. The national average is 19.5 percent. In comparison, the number of teens who had tried a cigarette dropped from 53 percent in 2007 to 52 percent for the most recent survey.Larkin said some states have made greater strides in tackling tobacco use than Indiana. But he believes that increases in the state’s cigarette tax and the rising number of communities with smoking bans have affected smoking rates among teens.Making it easier to make healthy instead of unhealthy choices is the goal to reduce smoking and to get teens moving, Larkin said. Although Hoosier teens reported they exercised more than the national average, almost 3 percent of Indiana teens are obese, compared with the national average of 12 percent, the survey results said.The state’s obesity...
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