Every two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys high school students across America about their health behaviors. The most recent data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) were released in June 2018 and can help inform efforts for helping kids achieve a healthy weight. According to reports from high school students in 2017:
Nearly one-third have obesity or are overweight. Among high school students, 14.8% reported having obesity; another 15.6% reported being overweight. The levels of obesity varied considerably across states—from a low of 9.5% in Colorado to a high of 21.7% in Arkansas.
Physical activity levels are low. National guidelines recommend that adolescents get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The latest data show that 73.9% of high school students don’t meet that standard. The survey also found that 43% spend three or more hours per day playing video games or using a computer for leisure.
Many do not eat breakfast, fruit or vegetables every day. Only 35.3% of high school students eat breakfast daily; 40.6% reported not eating vegetables daily, and 39.2% did not eat fruit or drink 100% fruit juice at least once a day.
It’s water over sugary drinks.
75.4% of respondents reported having at least one bottle or glass of water daily; 18.7% drink one or more sodas daily; and 12.4% had one or more sports drinks daily.
Serious racial and ethnic inequities persist.
Compared with white students, black and Latino students had higher rates of obesity, were less likely to meet physical activity guidelines, and had lower prevalence of eating breakfast each day.