Survey: Youth willing to take risks

A new report shows a disparity between substance abuse by Ottawa County youth and the perceived risks associated with those activities.
Krystle Wagner
May 1, 2014

The 2013 Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey charted the thoughts and actions of nearly 5,000 students last year. Its results were released Wednesday.

Read the whole survey: Download the PDF "Related File" below this story.

The survey found that 9.9 percent of students in grades 8, 10 and 12 smoked cigarettes during one or more of the past 30 days, which is down from 13.9 percent in 2011. The number of students perceiving “slight” or “no risk” to smoking one or more packs of cigarettes a day is about 10.3 percent.

The number of students having at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days is down from 22 percent in 2011 to about 18.9 percent in the latest survey. About 28.6 percent perceived none or a slight risk to having five or more alcoholic drinks once or twice a week.

Lakeshore Middle School eighth-graders Alexis VanSingel, Megan Kostner and Madi Krapohl said they believe peer pressure influences area teens’ decisions.

Kostner said she’s taken it upon herself to encourage her friends to stay away from drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and using drugs because she doesn’t want anything to happen to them. The 14-year-old said there are health risks to engaging in those activities, but it could also result in being kicked off a sports team.

“You don’t need to drink (alcohol) to survive,” she said.

The report also shows trends moving in positive directions.

About 54.3 percent of students surveyed are physically active for 60 minutes per day on five or more of the past seven days, which is up from 38.2 percent in 2005.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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