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CDC: Smoking hits new low for teens, texting and driving presents new danger

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued good news with the results of their National Youth Risk Behavior Study, which was released on Thursday. In the entire history of the survey, the number of teens smoking in 2013 was the lowest it has ever been.

The rate of teens smoking dropped in 2013.
Photo by Dimas Ardian/Getty Images

As of 2013, 15.7 percent of high schoolers reported smoking. Considering the U.S. had planned to bring down the national percent to 16 percent by 2020, health officials should pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

But there’s also bad news, because there’s always bad news. Texting and driving has emerged as one of the highest risk factors for students. When asked who had been texting while driving within the last 30 days, 41 percent of students responded in the affirmative. Though another form of impaired driving was reported as relatively low (10 percent), texting and driving is still dangerous in its own way.

And rather than spending their hours glued to a TV, students are now glued to their mobile devices and computers. Currently 41.3 percent of students say they use devices other than a TV in their free time, while 32.5 percent of students say they spend more than three hours watching TV. Ultimately, what this means is that all of these students are not spending a good chunk of their time exercising, learning or socializing (face-to-face), which are all important for developing minds and bodies.

On top of that, kids are drinking more sugary beverages than before. Seventy-seven point three percent of students reported having a soda within the past week.

As a result of more sugary beverages and less exercise the survey reflects that we’ve got more kids who are classified as obese than before. In 2013, the percentage rang in at 13.7 percent of teens who were obese compared to 1999’s figure of 10.6 percent. The percentage of overweight teens also increased.

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