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Shaker Online Living in a Healthy Community The Healthy News about Shaker Teens If you are parenting a teen, will be soon, already raised one, or were one once, these survey outcomes about alcohol and tobacco use among teens in Shaker Heights may interest you…and give you food for thought. The data, gathered from a survey taken in 2012 and 2013 at Shaker Middle School (SMS) and Shaker Heights High School (SHHS), reveal healthy news, and point to what parents and key community partners can do to keep the trend going in a positive direction. Since 2002, the Shaker Heights Health Department, the Shaker Heights City Schools, and the Prevention Research Center at Case Western Reserve University have collaborated to administer the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The survey was designed by the Centers for Disease Control. Here’s a snapshot of Shaker’s most recent results: Alcohol Use • 92% of SMS students are not current alcohol users* (83% in 2004) • 65% of SHHS students are not current alcohol users* (52% in 2004) • 65% of SMS students believe alcohol use is “very wrong” for someone their age (47% in 2004) • 35% of SHHS students believe alcohol use is “very wrong” for someone their age (19% in 2004) Tobacco Use • 98% of SMS students are not current cigarette smokers*(93% in 2004) • 93% of SHHS students are not current cigarette smokers* (81% in 2002) Parental Permissiveness One of the most important contributors to substance use in Shaker is the high school teen’s perception of their parents’ attitudes about teen tobacco and alcohol use. If teens receive a clear message from parents that they believe tobacco and alcohol are very wrong, the result is much lower rates of tobacco and alcohol use than if parents express only that use is wrong, a little bit wrong, or not wrong at all. • If high school teens think their parents believe cigarette smoking is “very wrong,” 4% are current cigarette smokers. • If they think parents believe smoking is just “wrong, a little bit wrong, or not wrong at all,” 21% smoke cigarettes. • If high school teens think their parents believe teen alcohol use is “very wrong,” 23% are current drinkers, while if they think their parents believe drinking is just “wrong, a little bit wrong, or not wrong at all,” 57% are current drinkers. • If high school teens think their parents believe teen alcohol use is “very wrong” 10% are binge drinkers,** while if they think their parents believe drinking is just “wrong, a little bit wrong, or not wrong at all” 32% binge drink. Warning! Part of adolescent development involves a shift from parent opinions mattering most to friends’ opinions holding greatest sway. Among middle schoolers, 63% still care more about their parents’ opinion than their friends’, while only about half (51%) of high schoolers value parents’ opinions more. The best way to deal with this is to pay close attention to how your child is choosing their friends. Healthy friends, healthy life. *Using at least once in the past month **Five or more drinks in a row Note: Data cited is from 2012 for SMS and from 2013 for SHHS. To read the full Cuyahoga County report, go to prchn.org/YRBSResults.aspx. 4 ShAKerONLINE.COM | FALL 2015


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