As part of an ongoing effort to understand and address the risks faced by youth today, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) administered the Youth Risk Behaviour survey to over 3,509 grade 7 to 12 students.
All four school boards in the EOHU jurisdiction were invited to participate. In total, 49 schools participated in the survey from November 2010 to March 2011. Here are some highlights of the results:
• Injury prevention: 60 per cent of students reported rarely or never wearing a helmet when bicycling
• Bullying: 25 per cent of students reported having been bullied on school property, while 18 per cent reported having experienced cyberbullying
• Mental health: 26 per cent of youth reported depressive symptoms and 11 per cent reported seriously considering suicide (suicidal ideation), while 7 per cent reported planning suicide and 4 per cent made a suicide attempt that did not require treatment
• Nutrition: 10 per cent of the students reported never or almost never eating breakfast and 3 per cent of respondents reported that they never or almost never eat lunch
• Physical activity: 40 per cent of respondents reported meeting or exceeding the recommended levels of physical activity set out by Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living
• Body weight: 24 per cent of students reported being slightly or very overweight
• Tobacco: 19 per cent of students reported having tried smoking
• Alcohol: 63 per cent of youth reported ever having had an alcoholic drink
• Marijuana and other drugs: 25 per cent of youth reported having tried marijuana before and 16 per cent of them self-identified as regular users
“Based on this information, the EOHU and its community partners will target appropriate interventions and strategies to address the issues that our local youth are currently facing,” explained Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health.
“We will also continue to collect data to measure the effectiveness of these strategies. This process truly reflects our strategic priorities to invest in children and in youth and to work closely with community partners.”
To view the executive summary of the survey, visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit online at www.eohu.ca.