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Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge
Source: Eurobarometer

Young Europeans are less informed about the effects and risks of drugs than just a few years ago. While they widely use the Internet to gather knowledge, a new Eurobarometer survey shows that compared to 2011, respondents are less likely to have received such information from most sources, in particular from media campaigns and school prevention programmes.

More than one quarter of young people (29%) say they have not been informed at all in the past year about the effects and risks of so-called legal highs – currently legal substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs. This comes at a time when the number of young people saying they have used ‘legal highs’ has risen to 8%, from 5% in 2011.

More than 13,000 citizens aged 15-24 were interviewed for the Eurobarometer “Young People and Drugs” across the EU. Drug use and drug-related problems continue to be a major concern for EU citizens. They are also a significant public health and public safety issue. According to studies by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), drug experimentation often starts in the school years, and it is estimated that one in four 15-16 year-olds have used an illicit drug. In recent years, the use of ‘legal-highs’ has become increasingly popular, and the European Commission is working to strengthen the EU’s ability to protect young people by reducing the availability of harmful substances, as part of an overall drug policy regulatory framework

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Recent Declines in Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Recent Declines in Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Vital Statistics System and the National Survey of Family Growth

  • Nonmarital births and birth rates have declined 7% and 14%, respectively, since peaking in the late 2000s.
  • Births to unmarried women totaled 1,605,643 in 2013. About 4 in 10 U.S. births were to unmarried women in each year from 2007 through 2013.
  • Nonmarital birth rates fell in all age groups under 35 since 2007; rates increased for women aged 35 and over.
  • Birth rates were down more for unmarried black and Hispanic women than for unmarried non-Hispanic white women.
  • Nonmarital births are increasingly likely to occur within cohabiting unions—rising from 41% of recent births in 2002 to 58% in 2006–2010.

See also: National and State Patterns of Teen Births in the United States, 1940–2013 (_DF)

Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2018

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2018
Source: Beloit College
From introduction:

The College class of 2018, starting their first year on campus this fall, arrives with a grasp of their surroundings quite distinct from that of their mentors. Born in 1996, they have always had The Daily Show to set them straight, always been able to secure immediate approval and endorsement for their ideas through “likes” on their Facebook page, and have rarely heard the term “bi-partisan agreement.”

Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.

Behind the light humor of the Mindset List there are always some serious issues about the future of the class and their role in the future of the nation. The digital technology that affords them privacy from their parents, robs them of their privacy amid the “big data” of the NSA and Google. How will the absence of instant on-line approval impact their performance in the classroom and work place? Will this generation continue to seek reliance on prescription medications to address challenges and adjust reality?

Between the medications and the social media this generation is able to do what, once upon a time, only celebrities could do: advertise their self-designed personalities. Will that keep them from ever finding their authentic selves, or will they go through life with a “virtual” identity.

The Mindset List is assembled each year by Ron Nief and Tom McBride at Beloit College. It was initially created as a reminder to faculty to be wary of dated references and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing perception of each new generation as they make an important transition. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications internationally, and used for a wide variety of purp

From the American Academy of Pediatrics — Policy Statement: School Start Times for Adolescents

August 27, 2014 Comments off

From the American Academy of Pediatrics — Policy Statement: School Start Times for Adolescents
Source: Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes insufficient sleep in adolescents as an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students. Although a number of factors, including biological changes in sleep associated with puberty, lifestyle choices, and academic demands, negatively affect middle and high school students’ ability to obtain sufficient sleep, the evidence strongly implicates earlier school start times (ie, before 8:30 AM) as a key modifiable contributor to insufficient sleep, as well as circadian rhythm disruption, in this population. Furthermore, a substantial body of research has now demonstrated that delaying school start times is an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss and has a wide range of potential benefits to students with regard to physical and mental health, safety, and academic achievement. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly supports the efforts of school districts to optimize sleep in students and urges high schools and middle schools to aim for start times that allow students the opportunity to achieve optimal levels of sleep (8.5–9.5 hours) and to improve physical (eg, reduced obesity risk) and mental (eg, lower rates of depression) health, safety (eg, drowsy driving crashes), academic performance, and quality of life.

Use of Sunscreen and Indoor Tanning Devices Among a Nationally Representative Sample of High School Students, 2001–2011

August 24, 2014 Comments off

Use of Sunscreen and Indoor Tanning Devices Among a Nationally Representative Sample of High School Students, 2001–2011
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to engaging in poor skin-protection behaviors. The objective of this study was to examine use of sunscreen and indoor tanning devices among a nationally representative sample of high school students during a 10-year period (2001–2011) using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. The percentage of youth who reported using sunscreen declined from 67.7% in 2001 to 56.1% in 2011. The prevalence of using indoor tanning devices was highest among white females: 37.4% in 2009 and 29.3% in 2011. These findings indicate the need for prevention efforts aimed at adolescents to reduce risks for skin cancer.

Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Demystifying Data: A Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People’s Sexual Health and Rights (PDF)
Source: Guttmacher Institute

The guide aims to help health care providers, educators and advocates in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights to better understand and use evidence on adolescents’ knowledge and behaviors. The guide provides demographic and socioeconomic information about adolescents, as well as measures of their access to, need for, and use of sexual and reproductive health information and services. It is ultimately designed to provide professionals in the field with information they can use to argue effectively for and design policies and programs to meet young people’s needs for sexual and reproductive health, education and services, and information on sexual and reproductive rights.

Presenting the latest available data for 30 countries, the guide explains the practical meaning of the data in clear, nontechnical language. The guide can help those working with young people to bring about much-needed change, including
• provision of comprehensive sexuality education; increased access to sexual and reproductive health services;
• improved policies to protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people; and
• increased understanding of where the need is greatest in order to focus efforts on the most vulnerable young people.

UK — The Communications Market 2014 (August)

August 8, 2014 Comments off

The Communications Market 2014 (August)
Source: Ofcom
From press release:

A ‘millennium generation’ of 14 and 15 year olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK, according to new Ofcom research, which shows that after our teens our digital confidence begins a long decline.

Teens born at the turn of the millennium are unlikely to have known ‘dial-up’ internet and are the first generation to benefit from broadband and digital communications while growing up.

The research – part of Ofcom’s eleventh Communications Market Report – measures confidence and knowledge of communications technology to calculate an individual’s ‘Digital Quotient’ score, or ‘DQ’, with the average UK adult scoring 100.

The study, among nearly 2,000 adults and 800 children, finds that six year olds claim to have the same understanding of communications technology as 45 year olds. Also, more than 60% of people aged 55 and over have a below average ‘DQ’ score.

It shows that we hit our peak confidence and understanding of digital communications and technology when we are in our mid-teens; this drops gradually up to our late 50s and then falls rapidly from 60 and beyond.

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