SD teens score poorly in parts of youth surveySIOUX FALLS (AP) — A government study of youth behavior finds that South Dakota teenagers are good about finding work and getting their flu shots, but they often bully others, forget to buckle up in the car and don't eat enough fruits and vegetables.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A government study of youth behavior finds that South Dakota teenagers are good about finding work and getting their flu shots, but they often bully others, forget to buckle up in the car and don't eat enough fruits and vegetables.
South Dakota finished last in those three areas in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey coordinated by the state Health Department and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"I am not surprised about the fruits and vegetables, but I thought we were nice to each other," South Dakota Epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger told the media. "I'm at a loss to interpret it."
Workers conducted phone interviews with more than 5,000 teens from 25 South Dakota high schools late last year and reported the results last week. The study found that South Dakota teens do well on college entrance exams, are among the best at finding summer jobs and are from families near the top in volunteering, charity work and getting their flu shots.
The survey also found that only 14 percent of South Dakota teens eat three pieces of fruit a day, compared with about 22 percent nationally. About 20 percent of South Dakota teens wear seat belts, three times worse than the national score. The 27 percent bullying rate compares with the national rate of 20 percent.
Christina Brennan, 18, a recent Sioux Falls graduate, said the bullying score does not surprise her.
"People do it just to be mean," she said.
School district spokeswoman DeeAnn Konrad said Sioux Falls public schools have been aggressive about trying to improve student diet and eliminate bullying. French fries, once a daily choice in the cafeteria, now are an occasional option. Soda has been eliminated, while foods such as broccoli and pears have been added. The district also introduced a bullying prevention program at middle schools last year and will begin a similar effort this fall at the high schools.
"I think our district has done significant work on those issues," Konrad said. "I don't think you ever win the battle. We keep chipping away."