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Boyertown students exhibit healthy behaviors, according to recent survey.
In an effort to identify important behavior and health issues for students in the Boyertown School District, the Health Risk Behavior Survey—developed by the Weller Health Education Center—was distributedto grades eight, 10, and 12 in 2011.
The survey consisted of questions regarding health behaviors such as exercise, nutrition, bullying, and relationships, as well as drug, tobacco, and alcohol use. The results were released on the District website recently.
In regards to nutrition and body weight, 60.5 percent of surveyed students feel they are the right weight; a larger majority, 67.9 percent, is exercising to maintain or lose weight. 44 percent indicated that they are active for 60 minutes or longer for five days or more, this number peaks among those that do well academically.
According to the survey, in comparison to the national data collected in the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Boyertown students are choosing healthier options to lose weight or maintain weight.
In regards to tobacco, alcohol, and drugs—33.3 percent of those surveyed have smoked an entire cigarette in their lifetime; 8.3 percent indicated to be daily smokers, the majority of which are in grade 12. 36.6 percent of survey participants have consumed one alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days, compared to the reported national average of 42 percent; less than 10 percent indicated that they have consumed 6 or more.
Marijuana use is reportedly higher nationwide, at 37 percent compared to Boyertown’s reported 25 percent. This number refers to the use of marijuana at least once a month prior to the survey.
Over one third, 36.6 percent, admitted they have ridden in a car driven by someone under the influence. 28.3 percent nationally.
Boyertown students are in good spirits reportedly—8 1 percent indicated feeling cheerful. 49 percent of the students surveyed highlighted academic grades as a major stressor in their lives.
Of those surveyed, 20 percent have experienced death in the past year, 13 percent have experienced a job loss in the family. According to the survey, “stress caused by overwhelming debt has been increasingly reported by school psychologists and guidance counselors. This type of stress is having a devastating impact on the well-being of children across the country.”
In regards to bullying, 70 percent have reported witnessing bullying in the hallways; 49 percent have witnessed internet-based bullying, and 21 percent have witnessed bullying over the phone. It is to be noted, verbal bullying is the main source of these instances.
The eighth grade, more than any other grade, reported witnessing bullying in the hallway. According to survey, “research indicates nationwide approximately 40-75 percent of bullying takes place during breaks in the school day such as recess or between classes in corridors or bathroom (US department of health and human services 2003).”
Over half of Boyertown students surveyed indicated they would report to a friend or parent if bullied.
The survey advised that educational programming which addresses the effects of verbal bullying could help decrease the amount of incidences.
Regarding school environment, 66 percent feel accepted for who they are at school.
Over half of the Boyertown students reported that they are committed to developing a community that is No Place for Hate.
The survey was anonymous and voluntary.
Respondents included: 34.5 percent of eighth-grade students, 34.7 percent of 10th-grade students, and 30.9percent of 12th-grade students.
The results of this survey can be used as tool by legislators, policy makers, administrators, and teachers to make decisions regarding policies, services, programs, and educational programs. The 97 page report compiling the results of the survey can be found on the district website.