Survey shows teen behavior changing

Teenagers are drinking less alcohol and soda and exercising more. (ThinkStock)

WASHINGTON — There’s good news and bad news about teenage behavior.

The good news is that teenagers are reporting they are getting more exercise, witnessing less bullying and drinking less alcohol.

The 2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered in the spring of 2013 to more than 53,700 students in 184 Maryland public high schools. Maryland officials survey students once every two years.

In addition, Maryland’s survey on trends in teenagers’ behavior from 2013 shows that since 2005 more kids:

  • feel their teachers really care about them;
  • drink less soda;
  • are physically active for 60 or more minutes five or more days a week.

The bad news: The number of teenagers reporting they rarely or never wears a seatbelt, use smokeless tobacco and have used a needle to inject illegal drugs has increased.

There are disparities with gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity, too. 2013 was the first year the survey took sexual orientation into account in the survey, and the final report revealed that “gay, lesbian and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to report feeling sad and hopeless during the past year (51.5 percent compared to 23.8 percent)and were about three times more likely to report having seriously considered attempting suicide during the past year (40.9 percent compared to 12.8 percent).”

Females students were much more likely than male students to report having felt sad or hopeless (34.2 percent compared to 19.7 percent). Hispanic students were also more likely than non-Hispanic students to report feeling sad or hopeless.

The entire report on the 2013 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey is available for download from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.


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