Physical inactivity, smoking and drinking issues for P.E.I. youth: School survey
School survey shows bullying also remains an issue for kids in grades 5-12
A survey of 8,500 students in grades five through 12 in P.E.I. shows Island youth have the highest rates of binge drinking in the country — and bullying, smoking and a lack of physical activity continue to be problems.
The data, collected through paper surveys during one classroom period in 2014-15, showed 37 per cent of P.E.I. students reported being bullied in the past 30 days, one in four students reported using marijuana in the last 12 months, and only 45 per cent of students meet national physical activity guidelines.
It also showed of the 43 per cent of students who had a drink of alcohol, 32 per cent reported engaging in binge drinking, which are the highest rates in Canada.
P.E.I. also has the second highest rate of smokers (among 10-18 year olds in the country at 6.6 per cent, which is almost double the national average of 3.4 per cent.
Researchers, schools, and communities must continue to fight for the health of our youth.– Donna Murnaghan
"These are complex problems that require continued timely monitoring and surveillance to inform action for the future," said Donna Murnaghan, co-principal investigator of SHAPES-PEI and adjunct professor of nursing at UPEI.
SHAPES-PEI — the School Health Action Planning and Evaluation System — is a system of data collection funded by the provincial government that is used to support program and policy planning.
Fourth data report
On Thursday SHAPES-PEI, in collaboration with the Canadian Student Tobacco Alcohol and Drugs Survey and the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, released its fourth data report since it was formed in 2008.
"The findings from this fourth cycle of SHAPES-PEI tell us that researchers, schools, and communities must continue to fight for the health of our youth," Murnaghan said in a news release.
"The flat or plateau results around physical activity levels point to no significant improvements in physical activity levels even though there have been concerted efforts to promote youth being physically active. The rising tobacco and alcohol use among P.E.I. youth changes the conversation to we are not done yet with these risks."
Highlights from the 2014-15 SHAPES-PEI survey include:
- 71 per cent of P.E.I. students reported having high mental fitness, compared to 66 per cent in 2008 (mental fitness describes a student's sense of emotional and psychological well-being)
- 37 per cent of P.E.I. students (30 per cent males, 42 per cent females) reported being bullied in the past 30 days
- Non-verbal bullying (e.g., getting teased, threatened, or having rumours spread about you) is the most common form of bullying reported by youth in PEI; 35 per cent of females and 17 per cent of males reported experiencing non-verbal bullying in the last 30 days.
- 45 per cent of P.E.I. students meet national physical activity guidelines (unchanged since 2010)
- 38 per cent of P.E.I. students reported eating fruit and vegetables more than six times the day before the survey (mostly unchanged since 2008)
- 15 per cent of P.E.I. students reported eating high fat/salty/sugary snacks or drinks seven or more times the day before the survey (down 15 per cent from 2008)
- 58 per cent of P.E.I. students reported eating breakfast every day, while 12 per cent of PEI students reported not eating breakfast at all in a usual school week (up from eight per cent from 2012)
- 69 per cent of PEI students fall into a healthy weight category for their age. In contrast, 28 per cent of students are still considered overweight or obese, similar to the SHAPES-PEI findings in 2010.
- P.E.I. has the second highest rate of current smokers (among 10-18 year olds) in the country at 6.6 per cent, which is almost double the national average of 3.4 per cent.
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