The latest federal look at teenage behavior is reassuring and suggests that some safety messages are getting through to American youth. On the downside, kids are fatter than ever before and just a third are eating anywhere near as many fruits and vegetables as they need to stay healthy. And less than a third are getting enough sleep.
Sign up for top Health news delivered direct to your inbox. And a very troubling new statistic shows that more than 40 percent of teenagers who drive cars admit to having texted or emailed while driving recently. But on the whole, it's a snapshot of progress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which organizes the every-other-year survey, was especially pleased about the drop in smoking.
So that's one of the most positive trends that we see here — down to That's great news. While smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death in the United States — it causes heart disease, cancer and lung disease — teenagers face a more immediate risk. Their single biggest killer is motor vehicle crashes, causing 23 percent of deaths among 10 to year-olds, CDC says.
Another 18 percent of young deaths come from other unintentional injuries, 15 percent from homicide and 15 percent by suicide. The good news is that only 7. The survey of more than 13, students taken at schools across the country showed that nearly 22 percent admit to having ridden one or more times in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking in the past month.
But most startling, Parents need to model good behavior. Older teen drivers may do it more often — in , the CDC found that 58 percent of high school seniors admitted to texting while driving. Among all Americans, 57 percent of drivers admit to talking on a hand-held cell phone while on the road. About 35 percent say they have texted while driving,. Teens can be foolhardy in other ways.
Nearly 88 percent said they skip wearing a helmet while biking all or most of the time. But this is down from 96 percent of teens in And while teen sex is at a low — Now we've seen a slight decrease in condom use, and that's concerning.
Teens should use condoms even if they are also using other contraception, Frieden said. Pregnancy is a big worry, but STDs are even more likely, and Frieden fears "there may be a sense that, well, there's treatment for HIV so it's not such a terrible problem.
People must take pills every single day for life and the virus can develop resistance to those medications. And some kids are relying on dumb luck. Of those who were sexually active, On the good news side, students are fighting less at school. Just under 25 percent had been in a physical fight one or more times during the past year, down from 42 percent in , And just 25 percent had even been in a fight, down from a third in The other long-term risks to health are poor diet and a lack of exercise.
Teens are trying, but not reaching targets there, the survey indicates. People should aim to eat at least three servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables every single day. More than 62 percent of the students had managed to get one fruit serving down a day for the week before the survey and 61 percent managed to eat one or more vegetables.
Only 15 percent hit the three or more mark. And as a possible result, nearly 14 percent of the students were obese, the survey found, and another Nearly a third of students said they watched television three or more hours per day on an average school day. And Most teenagers need nine hours of sleep a night.
The survey found that only 31 percent of students were getting eight or more hours a night on school nights. IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Share this —. Follow NBC News.