Steps Youth Survey

2005 Chautauqua County Survey Results


Introduction

 

In the spring of 2005, a total of 5,178 students in grades 9-12 attending schools in Broome, Chautauqua, Jefferson, and Rockland counties participated in the Steps Youth Survey.  Information collected in this survey will allow Steps to a HealthierNY counties to monitor the self-reported behaviors of youth, and plan interventions for adolescents.  All communities nationwide that received Steps funding conducted a survey similar to New York’s Steps Youth Survey.

 

What is the Steps Youth Survey?

The Steps Youth Survey concentrates on the six Steps focus areas: asthma, diabetes, obesity, nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco use.  It was developed in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New York State Department of Health and the Chautauqua County Steps Program.  The survey will be conducted every two years.  Protecting student privacy was a priority in the design and administration of the questionnaire.  Participation was voluntary. 

 

Why Were These Behaviors Selected?

Diabetes, asthma, and obesity were selected as Steps focus areas because of their rapidly increasing prevalence in the United States and the ability for individuals to control and even prevent these conditions through exercise, diet and reduced tobacco use.  An estimated 5 million children suffer from asthma; and obesity among adolescents has tripled over the past two decades.  The number of people with diabetes in the United States has nearly doubled in the past decade to 17 million.

 

How Can Youth Survey Results Be Used?

Students participating in the Steps Youth Survey responded to questions measuring actual health-risk behaviors, and not simply knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs.  For example, while it is commonly known among youth that cigarette smoking is harmful, 16.1% of students reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days.  Similar differences are reflected throughout the results of the Steps Youth Survey and demonstrate the need to measure actual health-risk behaviors.  What students understand, know, and believe is not necessarily reflected in what they do.

 

Information learned from the Steps Youth Survey can help Steps communities develop and implement programs to support youth to meet the challenges that affect their lives and their futures.  Tomorrow’s healthy outcomes are the result of today’s healthy choices.  Questions on the Steps Youth Survey were extensively field-tested.  Research indicates that students answer the questions truthfully and that data of this nature can be gathered as reliably from adolescents as from adults. 

 

 

All of the data from which the information in this report is derived can be found at:

 

  http://www.fredonia.edu/org/steps/YRBS2005/

 
Did You Know…

 

1057 Chautauqua County students participated in the 2005 Steps Youth Survey?

And that in Chautauqua County:

 

 

·        81.1% of students surveyed did not eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day?

·        96.9% of students surveyed did not attend PE class daily?

·        65.2% of students surveyed participated in sports activities?

·        25.7% of students surveyed watched 3 or more hours of television on an average school day?

·        12.1% of students surveyed are overweight?

·        16.1% of students surveyed smoked cigarettes during the past 30 days?

·        8% of students surveyed had an asthma attack in the past 12 months?

·        2.7% of students surveyed were told by a doctor or nurse they had diabetes?


Asthma

 

Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism.  In 2003, 5 million school-aged children in the United States were reported to currently have asthma.  The estimated cost of treating asthma in children under 18 is $3.2 billion per year. 

 


23.5% of students surveyed reported that they were told by a doctor or nurse that they have asthma.

 

 

The prevalence of asthma in the sample is relatively evenly distributed among both sexes and all age groups.

 

 

 

 

 

28.5% of respondents with current asthma had an asthma attack in the past 12 months.

 

 

 

A substantially higher percentage of females in the sample report asthma attacks in the last 12 months, and the percentage of attacks reported is highest for 16 year old age group.



Diabetes

 

Type 1 diabetes accounts for the majority of diabetes seen in children and adolescents.  However, the rise in childhood obesity has led to an increase in Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents.  Type 2 diabetes can lead to several complications including blindness, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

 


2.7% of students surveyed reported that they were told by a doctor or nurse that they have diabetes.

 

A slightly higher percentage of males in the sample population have been advised they have diabetes.



Obesity

 

Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12-19 years has tripled.  Overweight or obese adolescents are more likely to become overweight or obese adults.  Being overweight or obese during adolescence can increase the risk of developing many diseases in adulthood, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.


 

12.1% of students surveyed are overweight

 

 

In the sample population, a higher percentage of males have BMI scores that indicate they are overweight. By age, the highest percentage is found in the youngest age group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An additional 15.9% of students surveyed are at risk for becoming overweight. 

 

Combining overweight and at risk of becoming overweight BMI scores, 28% of the youth sample is experiencing weight problems. The combined score of males (32%) is higher than females (24.2%).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

49.2% of all respondents reported that they were trying to lose weight.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Females in the sample, who are less likely to be overweight or at risk

of becoming so, are over twice as likely as males to be trying to lose weight.

 


Nutrition                                                               

It is important for adolescents to develop healthy eating habits that will follow them into adulthood.  Unfortunately, many adolescents do not meet current dietary guidelines.  A healthy diet is associated with decreased risk of many conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Heavy consumption of soda and fast food has been linked to an increased risk of obesity.


 


18.7% of students surveyed reported eating 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables in the past week.

 

The percentage of students in the sample who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in the past week decreases as students get older.

 

 

 

 

 

 

24.3 of respondents usually drink lowfat (1% or skim) milk.

 

 

 

Females in the sample are more likely to choose lowfat milk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37.9% of students surveyed reported drinking soft drinks at least once per day during the past 30 days.

 

 

 

Just under 50% of students in the sample drink soft drinks 1 or more times per day, and a higher percentage of males engage in this behavior than females.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18.1% ate at a fast food restaurant three or more times in the past week.

 

 

A slightly higher percentage of males in the sample ate fast food three or more times in the past week, and the frequency of this behavior is highest in the two oldest age groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

70.6% of students surveyed reported eating lunch at school always or most of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Over two-thirds of all students in the sample ate lunch at school all or

most of the time, and this was the case for both males and females and

for all age groups with the exception of the 12-14 group.
Physical Activity

 

Engaging in regular physical activity is an important part of maintaining good health and is associated with reduced risk of numerous conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  Increased self-esteem is another important benefit of participating in physical activity.  Long periods of watching television and playing video games have been linked to an increased risk of obesity.

 


70.4% of students surveyed participated in physical activity that made them sweat and breathe hard (vigorous physical activity) for 20 minutes or more on 3 or more of the past 7 days

 

 Males in the sample report vigorous physical activity at a somewhat level than females, although around two-thirds of both sexes and all age groups engage in vigorous physical activity three or more times per week.

 

 

 

 

 

 54.4% participated in physical activity that did not make them sweat and breathe hard (moderate physical activity) for 30 minutes on 5 or more of the past 7 days.

 

Moderate physical activity is equally distributed among both sexes and all age groups in the sample.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the 96.4% of students surveyed who are enrolled in physical education (PE) class, 81.8% reported actually exercising or playing sports for more than 20 minutes during an average PE class.

 

 

 

Males in the sample report exercising or playing sports for more than 20 minutes during an average PE class at a somewhat higher rate than females, but over 75% of both sexes and all age groups report that this is the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.7% of students surveyed reported watching 3 or more hours of TV on an average school day.

 

 

 

Similar percentages of both males and females watch 3 or more hours of TV on an average school day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.6% reported playing video or computer games or using a computer for something that is not school work for 3 or more hours on an average school day.

 

 

Substantially more males than females in the sample report playing video or computer games or using a computer for something that is not school work for 3 or more hours on an average school day. The highest rate of this behavior occurs in the youngest age group.

 

 

30% of respondents were taught about opportunities for physical activity in their community during the past school year.

 

 

 

 

 

A somewhat higher percentage of males report being taught about opportunities for physical activity in their community.

 


 

 

 

 


Tobacco Use

Many current smokers began smoking during adolescence.  Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and increases the risk of several diseases including some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and asthma.  If current patterns of smoking continue, an estimated 6.4 million of today’s children can be expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.

 


16.1% of students surveyed smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 day.

 

 

Similar percentages of both males and females smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 day, and the percentage of students engaging in this behavior is almost twice as high in the 18 year old group compared to those 16 and 17.

 

 

 

       

 

 

 12.5% reported ever having smoked cigarettes daily.

 

 

 

Almost equal percentages of males and females in the sample have at some time smoked daily, and the percentage of students age 18 who have ever smoked daily is over twice as high as any other age group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to quit smoking cigarettes sometime in the past 12 months was

attempted by 54% of respondents who are current smokers.

 

 

 

A substantially higher percentage of females than males who are current smokers have tried to quit in the last 12 month, and the percentage who have tried to quit is higher in the oldest three age groups than in the younger two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor or nurse discussed ways to avoid tobacco use with 10.1% of respondents during their last check-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Conclusion

Many of the behaviors measured in the Steps Youth Survey impact how students perform in school. Obesity in adolescents has been related to poor school performance, while students who eat nutritious foods and engage in regular physical activity have been shown to perform better academically. Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism. By working together, we can reduce the complications of and prevent obesity, diabetes, and asthma, as well as improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and reduce tobacco use. The Steps Youth Survey is an important tool that will help us monitor progress toward these goals and direct resources to the greatest areas of need.

 

Next Steps

 

Steps to a HealthierNY is committed to forming strong partnerships with schools. The Steps program works with school districts to develop School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) to address all aspects of coordinated school health. Schools are encouraged to complete the CDC's School Health Index, a self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve health and safety policies and programs. In addition, Steps to a HealthierNY provides technical assistance to SHACs developing local wellness policies, addressing physical activity and nutrition for both staff and students.

 

For additional information about the Steps Youth Survey in Chautauqua County, please contact Kristy Kathman at (716) 483-4478.

 


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