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SnoCo teens drinking less; thinking more about suicide

The 2012 Healthy Youth Survey reflects ups and downs among local older kids

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – 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% for 12th graders. Use of hookah tobacco, however, hit 19% in that age group, and more than 25% reported marijuana use.


Alcohol use was lower in Snohomish County than in Washington State across the board among all grades, decreasing 4-5% at each grade level. Most kids still are not getting enough exercise, with about 20-27% 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

The 2012 HYS is the thirteenth survey since 1988 to sample Washington’s students about health risk behaviors that contribute to their illness, death, and social problems.


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.


The survey is a joint effort of the Department of Health, Department of Social and Health Services, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Liquor Control Board, the Family Policy Council, and the Department of Commerce. Results are used to plan, implement, and evaluate state youth programs.


Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at