Study: Teens Healthier Now Compared to 1990's

Posted at: 12/12/2012 5:29 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A report out by the Minnesota Department of Health shows a statewide trend that teens are healthier than a decade ago. The report looks at teens habits when it comes to drinking, smoking, eating, and even wearing their seatbelt.

State officials believe teens are cleaning up their act.

Kimberly Pokrandt definitely remembers as teen kids eating a less than healthy diet.

"I remember drinking Mountain Dew and eating the chips myself."

She says now as a school nurse she has seen a big change.

"The school is doing many different things with soda and the lunch menus and over-all just talking with kids and modeling the behavior really makes a difference," said Pokrandt.

Results from a Minnesota Department of Health survey of teens ages 12 to 19 reported the same. Stating that kids are drinking less regular pop than in the 90's and eating healthier.

The survey also found that compared to the 90's drinking is down from 80 percent of 12th graders in 1992 to 55 percent in 2010.

Cigarette smoking is down from 31 percent in 1992 to 19 percent in 2010.

But the survey also showed that Marijuana use stayed nearly the same at 31 percent.

Pokrandt says Rochester Public Schools has several programs that work to fight drug use.

"We work closely with police liaisons, public health, and school administrators," said Pokrandt.

The Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement that the results prove that educational programs are working.

"Minnesota must continue to support intensive and comprehensive evidence-based prevention efforts that involve parents, communities, schools, and public agencies working together."

"Overall it starts at home," said Pokrandt.

Pokrandt hopes that families and schools will continue to support healthier living.

"Keep up the good work, keep supporting our teachers and keep that message coming from home," said Pokrandt.

The Minnesota student survey is conducted every three years among three populations of students in Minnesota Public Schools.