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SnoCo teens drinking less; thinking more about suicide


March 26, 2013

The state’s recently released 2012 Healthy Youth Survey (HYS) shows that Snohomish County’s youth are having their ups and downs when it comes to healthy choices and experiences. The biennial report issued by the Washington State Department of Health offers health-risk information reported anonymously by students statewide in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12.

Issues of concern among Snohomish County teens include an increase in planning and seriously considering suicide, and worrisome reports of physical abuse by adults. The good news is that the teens who are depressed or considering suicide are more likely to seek help.

Use of cigarettes in the last 30 days was the lowest since 2002 in all grades, dropping to 15 percent for 12th graders. Use of hookah tobacco, however, hit 19 percent in that age group, and more than 25 percent reported marijuana use.

Alcohol use was lower in Snohomish County than in Washington State across the board among all grades, decreasing 4-5 percent at each grade level. Most kids still are not getting enough exercise, with about 20-27 percent reporting that they are physically active for 60 minutes per day.

“When we focus on the kids in our community, we actually are focusing on the adult population of the immediate future,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. “This is important information we use in planning as we attempt to meet the public health needs of the whole community.”

Data from select topics of concern in the 2012 survey are highlighted in new fact sheets on the Health District website at Health District staff has just begun analyzing this new data to identify trends and recommendations. The Snohomish Health District used data from the last Healthy Youth Survey in a community health assessment report that will be released in late April.

Find the state’s complete survey and fact sheets online at

Students in each grade answered about 100 questions in six broad topics: demographics; alcohol, tobacco and other drug use; school climate; quality of life; risk and protective factors; and healthy weight, eating and physical activity.


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