Public health officials have been working hard to curb cigarette smoking among teenagers and their efforts appear to have worked out as results of a 2013 survey show that the prevalence of smoking among teenagers has dropped. Teenagers are also veering away from sex and physical violence, according to the report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of over 13,000 teens studying in public and private high schools showed that the rate of smoking among teenagers has now dropped to only 15.7 percent, which is lower compared with the "Healthy People 2020" goal of the U.S. government of at least 16 percent by 2020.
Teens are also waiting longer to engage in sex with the rate of teenagers who had sexual intercourse for the past three years dropping from 38 percent 23 years ago to 34 percent in 2013. They also seem to be less violent now. A survey of over 13,000 high school students revealed that only 25 percent of them were involved in a physical fight during the past year, a significant drop from 42 percent in 1991.
Teens are likewise becoming more conscious about their health and diet as the CDC found a large drop in the number of teenagers drinking soda per day. In 2007, 34 percent of the teenagers surveyed said that they drink calorie-packed drinks every day. The number dropped to 27 percent in 2013.
The results of the survey, however, were not all good news. A large percentage of teenagers, for instance, were found to engage in risky driving behaviors as 41 percent of those surveyed admitted about texting or sending emails while driving.
While the number of sexually active teenagers has dropped, condom use also dropped from 63 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in 2013. CDC director Tom Frieden said that use of condom is crucial for protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. He also said that the growing popularity of e-cigarette raises concern despite the reduction in the prevalence of cigarette smoking among teens.
"This year's YRBS report clearly shows that fewer high school students are engaging in some very important health risk behaviors, but there is progress to be made," Frieden said. "Although there is no single solution to reducing health risk behaviors among high school students, we can all work collaboratively to address the health risks using interventions that are based on the best science available."