Minnesota students today lead healthier lives
Minnesota's middle school and high school students are working out more, drinking and smoking less, and buckling up when they drive. They're also looking to the future and planning to attend college in greater numbers, according to results from t...
Minnesota's middle school and high school students are working out more, drinking and smoking less, and buckling up when they drive. They're also looking to the future and planning to attend college in greater numbers, according to results from the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey.
The survey, given this spring to public school students in grades six, nine and 12, reflects improvements young people are making in their lives, local officials said Tuesday.
"I think students are listening" to messages at school and in the media, said Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Superintendent Randy Bruer. "They think about those things."
In fact, in the Moorhead School District, a higher percentage of students report they don't use tobacco, drugs, marijuana or alcohol at all, said Scott Matheson, a student assistance coordinator and counselor for the district.
"That's the really encouraging trend for us," Matheson said.
Statewide results include:
- 12th-graders reporting they plan to attend college rose to 88.9 percent from 85.8 percent in 2007. Ninth-graders planning to attend college hit 90.5 percent, up from 88.9 percent.
- 12th-graders reporting they were physically active five or more days in the past week was 43.4 percent this spring, up from 41.4 percent in 2007.
- Students reported increased seat-belt use across all grades from 2007 to 2010. Sixth-graders increased to 72.1 percent from 66.5 percent; ninth-graders were at 71.3 percent, up from 62 percent; and 12th-graders were at 71.3 percent, up from 62 percent.
- 12th-graders reporting alcohol use dipped from 72.5 percent in 2007 to 55.3 percent in 2010. Ninth-graders reporting they used alcohol dropped from 37.2 percent to 31.1 percent.
- 12th-graders reporting they binge drank declined from 29 percent in 2007 to 23.4 percent in 2010. Ninth-graders reporting they binge drank dropped from 12.5 percent to 9.5 percent.
- 12th-graders reporting they drove a motor vehicle after using alcohol or drugs dropped from 23.9 percent in 2007, to 18 percent in 2010.
- 12th-graders reporting they have smoked in the past 30 days declined from 22.8 percent in 2008, to 19.2 percent in 2010. Ninth-graders smoking declined from 10.3 percent in 2007 to 8.8 percent in 2010.
Dale Hogie, superintendent for Lake Park-Audubon schools, said students are more serious about preparing for the future, thanks to the rocky economy.
They are also starting to take the lead on health and safety issues. For example, LP-A students are working with the Minnesota State Patrol on a presentation to discourage texting and driving, he said.
"A lot of times when those messages come from peers, they have more of an impact," Hogie said.
Schmidt writes for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.