Information on At Risk Youth Statistics

Today’s youth are exposed to a variety of negative factors making them more at-risk to injury, academic failure and poor health. Teens who are likely to be more at-risk are usually those that lack a strong support system at home as well as teens who are not coping well with the different challenges that they are facing. Here are some of the youth at-risk statistics that parents should be aware of:

Teen Substance Abuse Statistics

According to the new national study done by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (June 2011), substance abuse in adolescence is America’s number 1 public health problem. The following findings were mentioned:

  • Before the age of 18, 9 out of 10 high school students where seen to have met the criteria for addiction and had already started drinking, smoking, and ¬†illicit or prescription drugs.
  • 3/4 of U.S. high school students have drunk alcohol, used another drug and smoked cigarettes. 2/3 of high school students have taken more than one substance which is addictive.
  • Among high school students, alcohol is the most solely favored addictive substance; followed by cigarettes, marijuana and prescription drugs.
  • About 34.4 million (46.1%) of the children under 18 usually live with a risky substance abuser. After friends, the family or the home is one most common source of substances which are addictive.
  • 20.8% of the high school parents think that marijuana is not at all a harmful drug while 42.6% of these parents say that one of their top 3 concerns is for their teens to refrain from using substance.
  • At schools, teachers claim that only 27% of their staff are trained to identify and respond the substance abuse of students, while below 40% of them think that the school’s has an effective prevention efforts.
  • Exposure to 77% of popular TV shows and movies for teens and adults are usually linked to teen drinking due to it’s media influence which glamorizes substance abuse.
  • There are 1.6 million students who meet the medical criteria to have disorders in substance use which involves other drugs and alcohol but only 6.4% of them have received treatment the previous year.

Teen Mental Health Statistics

Based on the results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) which presented the findings on the mental health utilized by the youth, ages 12 to 17, regarding any behavioral and emotional problems, the following were concluded:

  • There were 8% of the youth aged 12 to 17 (approximately 1.9 million) in 2010 who had major depressive episode (MDE) during the previous year. 5.8% of these had MDE with severe impairment.
  • Females were more likely to have MDE with the figure of 11.8% compared to males who only have 4.4%.
  • Of the 2.9 million youths aged 12 to 17 in 2010, the top 3 most likely reason for receiving mental health services was feeling depressed (47.6%), followed by having problems at home (30.5%), and breaking rules and “acting out” (25%).

In addition, a report done by Surgeon General on the mental health conditions of children and adolescents says that:

  • 1 in every 10 children and adolescents in the United States experience severe mental illness that causes some level of impairment. Yet only less than 1 of 5 children have received the appropriate treatment.

Teen Overweight and Obesity Statistics

In 2007-2008, the result of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics claimed the following:

  • Approximately 16.9% of 16 to 19 year old children and adolescents in the United States are obese.
  • The degree of obesity increased during 2007-2008 for children and adolescents aged 6-19, with 19.6% for 6-11 years old and 18.1% for ages 12-19 years old.
  • In a separate statistics from Teen Obesity in America during 2007 reveals that boys were more overweight than girls, with figures at 16.3% vs. 9.6% respectively with regards to teen obesity. Only 45.2% of these overweight teens attempted to lose weight.

Teen Sex Statistics

A fact sheet from a The Guttmacher Institute provided the following data:

  • There is 13% of teens who admitted to have had sexual experience by age 15. Before age 20, 7 among 10 teens, male and female, has already had intercourse.
  • Teenagers in the United States are more likely to have a sexual experience before they reach 15 years old, 11% of single females and 14% of single males) in 2006-2008.
  • The rate of pregnancy was 72 pregnancies in 1000 females within the age of 15-19 during the year 2006 and declined by 41% in the previous year 2005 from that of the peak rate during 1990.
  • The abortion rate in 2006 had a result of 200,420 among female teens belonging to age 15-19. Reasons for this is because teen moms could not afford to have a baby or not mature enough to be handling one that could change their lives.
  • The pregnancy rates in the United States has the highest compared to that of Canada and Sweden having 28 in every 1000 and 31 in every 1000 of females aged 15-19 respectively. This is despite the fact that the pregnancy rates have declined in 2006.
  • Unplanned pregnancies among teens are 82% while only 59% of the teen pregnancies lead to birth because 27% of these pregnancies end up in abortion.
  • 1 in every 5 teen girls are in the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, in fact 19% of them claimed to have not used any contraceptives during their previous intercourse.
  • Teen mothers are often unable to complete high school and only less than 2% of these teen moms attain a college degree when they reach 30.
  • In 2008, there are about 17% of the youth in the United States ages 13-24 were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

The different teen statistics previously presented are enough to make parents concerned about the possibilities of their teens becoming “at-risk”. It is therefore essential for parents to be educated about each of these factors and identify whether their teens are are likely to be at-risk of the issues mentioned above. Early intervention is ideal for their at-risk teens to prevent further problems and provide these teens with the appropriate treatment to help them manage their behavior, and hopefully not become a part of a new set of negative statistic in the future.