Peel Report: Health at Serious Risk Before Youth Even Start High School
BRAMPTON, ON. (Oct. 11, 2012) – A report on the health of youth in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga released by Peel Public Health on Thursday reveals that most students enter high school with such low fitness levels that their health is already at considerable risk.
The report, entitled Student Health 2011: Measuring the health of Peel’s youth, shows that three in every four (76%) Grade 9 students’ musculoskeletal fitness scores fall within a range that is associated with health risks.
“We know unhealthy behaviours often increase with each grade level,” says Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. “Without a strong foundation, good health is hard to both achieve and maintain.”
The early health risks don’t end with poor musculoskeletal fitness scores. Peel youth try smoking early and have easy access to cigarettes. Forty-one per cent of Peel students who ever smoked a cigarette reported having done so before entering high school. Of those currently smoking, 50% reported buying them directly from a retailer.
Peel students also think they eat far better than they actually do. While 67% of females and 76% of males described their eating habits as good to excellent, only 7% of students reported eating raw or cooked vegetables and 6% reported eating fresh or canned fruit three or more times per day. In addition, one in 10 (10%) males and one in 12 females (8%) ate deep-fried foods at least once or twice a day. And close to one in five of all students said they ate salty snacks, like cheesies and chips, at least once or twice a day.
“Our children’s good health, now and in the future, is clearly at stake,” says Elaine Moore, Regional Councillor and Co-chair of the Health Services Committee. “This report will not only inform Peel Public Health’s programs, but also act as a benchmark for action for everyone and anyone concerned about the health of Peel’s school-age children.”
Student Health 2011 summarizes the results of Peel Public Health’s Student Health Survey. More than 8,500 youth in grades 7 to 12 across the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board and the Peel District School Board completed the survey. It examined 10 major issues, including: relationships and sexual health; healthy eating; fitness; and tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. The survey was the largest regional survey of health behaviours of youth aged 12 to 19 years ever conducted in Canada. The survey also provides the first comprehensive assessment of the fitness of Peel’s Grade 9 students and the oral health of students in grades 10 and 12. It is Peel’s second major study of youth behaviour; a similar survey was conducted in 2005.
For more information, read the full Student Health 2011: Measuring the health of Peel’s youth report or call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.
The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon.