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Youth Health Survey data reflects the voices of MB students, reveals lifestyles

To create a distinctly Manitoban health behaviours database that schools and communities can draw from, Partners in Planning for Healthy Living (PPHL) went to the experts – the students themselves.

 

“Learning more about what Manitoba students are thinking, what motivates them and what’s important to them is critical to reducing chronic disease risk factors in this age group,” said Doreen Fey, PPHL chair and vice president of primary care with the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.

 

By surveying 65,000 Grade seven through 12 Manitoba students, the 2012-13 Youth Health Survey (YHS) successfully builds on 2009 YHS baseline data by enhancing results such as physical activity levels, and offers fresh insight into new areas such as sun/UV safety, bullying and healthy sexuality.

 

Trend information:

  • 38 per cent of students eat vegetables and fruit seven or more times daily
  • 46 per cent of students participate in the recommended amount of daily physical activity (down from 48 per cent  in 2009)
  • 50 per cent of students report three or more hours of screen time on weekdays
  • 71 per cent of students have a healthy body weight (down from 72 per cent in 2009)
  • 57 per cent of students have flourishing mental health
  • 45 per cent of students report feeling sad or hopeless in past year (increase from 37% in 2009)
  • 37 per cent of students report being bullied or taunted
  • 12 per cent of students are daily smokers (decrease from 21 per cent in 2009)
  • 20 per cent of students report consuming five or more drinks in a few hours in the past month (decrease from 34 per cent in 2009)
  • 17 per cent of students report using an illegal or prescription drug to get high in the past month
  • Of the students who have had sex, 48 per cent report always using a condom

 

“These data provide essential chronic disease risk factor information for health and education planners, and policy makers,” Fey said. “Having local level data is crucial to guiding the development of initiatives that meet the specific needs of that community.”

 

In 2014, Interlake-Eastern RHA hosted three youth forums where youth were presented with regional and provincial results from the Youth Health Survey. Working with a teacher-champion, they identified areas of concern to them and developed student-led initiatives that allow them to make positive changes.

 

Partners in Planning for Healthy Living is a group of Manitoba partner organizations including Regional Health Authorities, government departments and non-government groups who share a common mandate for preventing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

 

The full YHS can be found at http://partners.healthincommon.ca/reports/ 

 

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