Friday, June 13, 2014
Study: Teens are drinking less, texting more By Mike Stobbe
AP Medical Writer
The proportion of teens who had sex in the previous three months held steady at about 34 percent from 2011. Among them, condom use was unchanged at about 60 percent.
NEW YORK — American teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. But they’re texting behind the wheel and spending a lot of time on video games and computers, according to the government’s latest study of worrisome behavior. Generally speaking, the news is good. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex have been going down since the government started doing the survey every two years in 1991. Teens are wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts more, too. “Overall, young people have more healthy behaviors than they did 20 years ago,” said Dr. Stephanie Zaza, who oversees the study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The results come from a study of 13,000 U.S. high school students last spring. Participation was voluntary and required parental permission, but responses were anonymous. Highlights of the study, released Thursday:
Smoking Fewer than 16 percent of the teens smoked a cigarette in the previous month — the lowest level since the government started doing the survey, when the rate was more than 27 percent. Another CDC study had already put the teen smoking rate below 16 percent, but experts tend to treat this survey’s result as the official number. It’s “terrific news
The percentage who attempted suicide in the previous year held steady at about 8 percent.
more communicating and living in an online world in which it’s easier to think they’re the center of the universe, said Marina Krcmar, a Wake Forest University professor who studies teen screen time. That can lead to a form of extended adolescence, she said. It can also distract youngsters from schoolwork, exercise and other healthy activities, she said.
TV viewing for three or more hours a day has stalled at around 32 percent since 2011. But in one of the largest jumps seen in the survey, there was a surge in the proportion of kids who spent three or more hours on an average school day on other kinds of recreational screen time, such as playing video or computer games or using a computer or smartphone for something other than schoolwork. That number rose to 41 percent, from 31 percent in 2011. Health experts advise that teens get no more than two hours of recreational screen time a day, and that includes all screens — including Xboxes, smartphones and televisions. Although video-gaming is up, particularly among teen boys, some researchers believe most of the screen-time increase is due to social media use. And it’s probably not a good thing, they say. Through texts and social media, young people are doing
Fights at school fell by half in the past 20 years. And there was a dramatic drop in kids reporting they had been in a fight anywhere in the preceding year — about 25 percent, down from 33 percent two years earlier. The addition of more guards and other security measures may be a factor, said school violence expert Todd DeMitchell of the University of New Hampshire. Fighting may be down, but it’s not uncommon, according to some teens at the High School of Fashion Industries in lower Manhattan. Two students said they saw roughly one fight a week. “It’s like The Hunger Games,” said 14-year-old Maya Scott. She said she had been in a fight during the current school year. A few minutes later, as if to prove her point, three girls exchanged words and nearly came to blows outside the front entrance before a school lunch worker stepped in and separated them.
Jae C. Hong/AP file photo
Attendees play video games on the PlayStation 4 at the Sony booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on June 13, 2013. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday found a surge in number of kids who spent three or more hours on an average school day on screened electronics other than TV. for America’s health,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Even so, there are still about 2.7 million teens smoking, he said. The survey did not ask about electronic cigarettes, which have exploded in popularity in the past few years. Meanwhile, more than 23 percent of teens said they used marijuana in the previous month — up from 15 percent in 1991. CDC officials said they could not tell whether marijua-
na or e-cigarettes have replaced traditional cigarettes among teens.
cent in Massachusetts to 61 percent in South Dakota.
Drinking Texting Among teen drivers, 41 percent had texted or emailed behind the wheel in the previous month. That figure can’t be compared to the 2011 survey, though, because the CDC changed the question this time. The latest survey gives textingwhile-driving figures for 37 states — ranging from 32 per-
Fewer teens said they drank alcohol. Drinking of soda was down, too. About 35 percent said they had had booze in the previous month, down from 39 percent in 2011. About 27 percent said they drank soda each day. That was only a slight change from 2011 but a sizable drop from 34 percent in 2007.
Obama: U.S. will send fresh help to beleaguered Iraq By Julie Pace and Lara Jakes Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Less than three years after pulling American forces out of Iraq, President Barack Obama is weighing a range of short-term military options, including airstrikes, to quell an al-Qaida inspired insurgency that has captured two Iraqi cities and threatened to press toward Baghdad. “We do have a stake in mak-
ing sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold,” Obama said Thursday in the Oval Office. However, officials firmly ruled out putting American troops back on the ground in Iraq, which has faced resurgent violence since the U.S. military withdrew in late 2011. A sharp burst of violence this week led to the evacuation Thursday of Americans from a major air base
in northern Iraq where the U.S. had been training security forces. Obama, in his first comments on the deteriorating situation, said it was clear Iraq needed additional assistance from the U.S. and international community given the lightning gains by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Republican lawmakers pinned some of the blame for the escalating vio-
lence on Obama’s reluctance to re-engage in a conflict he long opposed. For more than a year, the Iraqi government has been pleading with the U.S. for additional help to combat the insurgency, which has been fueled by the civil war in neighboring Syria. Northern Iraq has become a way station for insurgents who routinely travel between the two countries and are spreading the
Syrian war’s violence. Iraqi leaders made a fresh request earlier this week, asking for a mix of drones and manned aircraft that could be used for both surveillance and active missions. Officials said Obama was considering those requests and was expected to decide on a course of action within a few days. The U.S. already is flying unmanned aircraft over Iraq for in-
telligence purposes, an official said. Short of airstrikes, the president could step up the flow of military assistance to the beleaguered Iraqi government, increase training exercises for the country’s security forces and help boost Iraq’s intelligence capabilities. The U.S. has been leery of its lethal aid falling into the hands of militants or being otherwise misused.
DENTON POLICE MOST WANTED Warrants have been issued for these people, according to Denton police officials. If you see any of them, call 911. You can also leave anonymous tips at the Denton Police Department Facebook page or by using Tip411. Denton County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Denton’s Most Wanted. Callers will remain anonymous.
Antonio Acosta Charge: criminal trespass of a habitation and interference with a 911 call Age: 21 Height: 6 feet, 2 inches Weight: 185 pounds Hair: black Eyes: brown
Bobby Anderson Charge: theft between $50 and $500 Age: 32 Height: 6 feet Weight: 175 pounds Hair: blond Eyes: blue
Darlene Brezic Charge: possession of a controlled substance, Penalty Group 1, under 1 gram Age: 43 Height: 5 feet, 5 inches Weight: 140 pounds Hair: brown Eyes: brown
Cameron Burchett Charge: assault Age: 18 Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Weight: 160 pounds Hair: brown Eyes: blue
Mitchell Feagins Charge: criminal mischief between $50 and $500 Age: 30 Height: 6 feet, 1 inch Weight: 230 pounds Hair: black Eyes: brown
Scottie Hilliard Charge: theft between $50 and $500 Age: 21 Height: 5 feet, 6 inches Weight: 140 pounds Hair: brown Eyes: hazel
Christi Houtman Charge: fraud, two counts Age: 57 Height: 5 feet, 6 inches Weight: 125 pounds Hair: blond Eyes: green
Kimberly Perez Charge: driving while intoxicated Age: 46 Height: 5 feet, 8 inches Weight: 185 pounds Hair: black Eyes: brown
Khalida Rasul Charge: theft between $50 and $500 Age: 23 Height: 5 feet, 6 inches Weight: 107 pounds Hair: blond Eyes: brown
Taylor Thrasher Charge: accident involving damage over $200 Age: 24 Height: 5 feet, 4 inches Weight: 115 pounds Hair: blond Eyes: blue
BRIEFLY ACROSS THE NATION San Francisco
Perry discusses view of homosexuality Texas Gov. Rick Perry, during a visit that focused primarily on economic issues, drew on a reference to alcoholism to explain his view of homosexuality. Perry’s comments to the Commonwealth Club of California came after Texas’ Republican Convention on Saturday sanctioned platform language allow-
ing Texans to seek voluntary counseling to “cure” being gay. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in response to a question about it, Perry said he did not know whether the therapy worked. Perry was then asked whether he believed homosexuality was a disorder. The paper says that the governor responded that “whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not
to do that.” He said: “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.” The Texas Republican platform stand on the issue is in contrast to California and New Jersey, which have previously banned licensed professionals from providing such therapy to minors. — The Associated Press