High school students participate in a health and attitude survey


Danville – 2,810 high school students from 12 high schools in Vermilion County shared their attitudes and health behaviors through the 2012 I Sing the Body Electric Youth Risk Behavior health survey.

The survey report represents the responses of approximately 70% of the teen population in participating Vermilion County schools.

Here are some of the results of the survey: 

  • Over one-half of Vermilion County (VC) females (52.7%) and over one-third of VC males (35.6%) say they have been bullied on school property. 
  • Over one-third of VC females (35.1%) and one-fourth of VC males (25.9%) consider themselves slightly or very overweight.
  • One in four teens (23.3%) had their first drink of alcohol at 13 or 14 years of age; one in nine youth (10.8%) smoked their first whole cigarette at 13 or 14; and one in seven students (13.9%) first tried marijuana at those ages.
  • Teen abuses of over-the-counter medications show dramatic increases.  Nearly one in eight teens (12.7%) report abusing over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, a 104.8% upsurge from 2008 statistics and a 42.7% increase since 2010.
  • Prescription drug abuse is on the rise among VC teens.  One in six youth (16.3%) report taking prescription drugs not prescribed for them, a 19.9% increase from 2008 data and a 7.9% increase since 2010.
  • Female depression (feeling sad or hopeless almost everyday for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some of their usual activities) has increased 38.9% since 2002, going from 31.9% to 44.3% in 2012; male numbers have increased 29.3% since 2002, going from 23.2% to 30.0% in 2012. 
  • One in three VC females (33.8%) and one in five VC males (18.4%) report deliberate self harm (cutting or hurting oneself on purpose.)  These 2012 numbers reflect an upward trend in each survey since we began asking this question in 2008. 
  • Rates of VC youth attempting suicide (11.8%), though decreasing, are still significantly higher than national youth (7.8%). 


The top 10 health concerns identified by youth taking the survey: alcohol use; drug use; teen sexuality; body image issues; physical fighting/bullying/carrying weapons; depression/suicide; nutrition, physical fitness, and exercise; seat belt use; domestic and dating abuse; and tobacco use. This part of the survey was only one part of a three-phase program.


The major goals of I Sing the Body Electric remain the same in 2012 as they were at the program's inception in 2001:  to provide a supportive framework to nurture resiliency, reduce risk behaviors, and build leadership in youth as they investigate and communicate healthy lifestyle choices to each other, and to the larger community, through the arts.

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