Youth risk behavior survey provides insight into lives of local youth
For the City Times
Submitted by Elizabeth Beck, Community Health Planner
STEVENS POINT — The second Portage County Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) has been released by Portage County Health and Human Services – Division of Public Health.
The Portage County YRBS provides important insight into the everyday lives of Portage County high school students and helps school administrators and public health address health issues and risky behaviors that were reported by students. The survey asks Portage County teenagers questions about high-risk behaviors such as violence, mental health, alcohol and drug use, and sexual behavior.
The 2018 Portage County YRBS Report presents collective data from all six high schools in Portage County. Participating school districts received data specific to their district or school. The survey is completed locally
every two years.
Positive behaviors found in the 2018 report include more youth eating fruits and vegetables and drinking less
soda. In 2015, 18.9% of Portage County students reported drinking a can, bottle, or glass of soda regularly and in 2018, this number decreased to 16.4%. Portage County student respondents also increased regular fruit intake to 92.9%, an increase of 46.3% since 2015.
Behaviors that have gotten worse in Portage County youth are tobacco use and bullying. Overall, 10.9% of Portage County student respondents reported having been in a physical fight on school property in the past year. Additionally, 30.8% of students reported being bullied on school property, which was an increase of 2.9% since 2015. The use of electronic vapor products, such as e-cigarettes, has also increased among Portage County youth. Twenty-six percent of students currently use an electronic vapor product. In 2015, only 12.8% of students reported regular use of these products, a 13.2% increase.
While it is important to recognize these changes in behavior, it must be noted that these responses are only indicative of the Portage County students who completed the survey, and are not representative of all high school students in Portage County.
With this report, Portage County schools and community members can take strides to help Portage County youth lead their best life. To read the full report, visit http://www.co.portage.wi.us/home/showdocument?id=19953