Pubdate: Tue, 30 Sep 2014
Source: Kenora Daily Miner And News (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Kenora Daily Miner and News
Author: Alan S. Hale
Page: 2


One out of every five Kenora Grade 12 students smoke tobacco enough to
be considered 'current smokers,' according to the Northwestern Health

The health unit has released the results its annual COMPASS survey
which provides a snapshot of the health and life practices of Kenora's
teenagers from Grades 9 to 12.

The results are based on a 30-minute survey handed out to students
last April at the six high schools located throughout Northwestern
Ontario. Just over 1,500 students took part in the survey, with about
equal amounts of boys and girls.

According to the report, 42 per cent of the high school students have
tried a cigarette. This number rises steadily from 29.5 per cent in
Grade 9 to 56.5 per cent in Grade 12. Based on their frequency of
smoking, the health unit believes that 12 per cent of students can be
considered 'current smokers.' Almost 60 per cent of students said it
would be easy for them to obtain cigarettes if they wanted to.

Besides smoking cigarettes, students were asked what other kinds of
tobacco related products they had used in the past month. Eight per
cent of students admitted to using cigarillos, 5 per cent used cigars,
5 per cent used chewing tobacco and 5 per cent said they had rolled
their own cigarettes with a mixture of tobacco and marijuana inside.

When it came to alcohol consumption, 63 per cent of students said they
took their first drink (that was more than just a sip) when they were
between 13 and 15 years old, while 23 per cent said they had it before
they were 13.

A total of 43 per cent of students said they had about one alcoholic
drink a month. Fifteen per cent of Grade 12 students said they drank
two or three times a week or more, and 25 per cent said they drank at
least once a week.

Marijuana use among high school students is about as common as
alcohol, with 63 per cent saying the had their first toke between 13
and 15 years old and 18 per cent saying they tried it before turning
13. Students also felt it was not too difficult to obtain marijuana,
with 56.3 per cent saying it would be easy.

Besides looking at substance use among the region's teens, the survey
also collected data on their physical health.

The health unit recommends that people from ages 12 to 17 should be
getting 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day. At the moment, 51.8
per cent of students in Northwestern Ontario meet this recommendation.
Males are more likely to get the right amount of exercise than
females, with 61 per cent of boys meeting the standard compared to 41
per cent of girls. The reasons for this are likely because more boys
take physical education at school than girls, a trend which becomes
more pronounced as they get older.

When it came to body image, 30.5 per cent of students thought they
were overweight. About 20 per cent of boys thought they were
underweight and another 20 per cent thought they were overweight.
About 33 per cent of girls thought they were overweight.

The students who are worried they are overweight are not far wrong,
according to the health unit, which used Body Mass Indexes to
determine that 28.3 per cent of students are technically considered
overweight. The 13.5 per cent of students who thought they were
underweight were largely wrong, however, with only 1.3 per cent being
actually underweight.

The health unit reported sedentary activities may be the culprit for
the amount of overweight students. The survey revealed that students
spend an average of 120 minutes watching television a day, 131 minutes
surfing the Internet and 152 minutes texting or emailing each other.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt