Nearly 300,000 Washington youth in more than 1,000 public schools around the state are taking the Healthy Youth Survey this week.
The anonymous survey asks students about alcohol, drug and tobacco use, exercise, diet, bullying , TV and online habits and other behaviors that can impact their health. It’s administered to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in Washington every two years.
“Habits people develop when they’re young often stay with them for a lifetime, so it’s important for us to understand what kids are up to in our state,” Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a news release. “If we know about the health choices kids are making, we can get a sense of which prevention programs are working, and which issues need more attention.”
Individual answers are confidential; no names or personal identifiers are collected. In the months after the survey, answers are tallied and information is compared to results from past surveys to look for trends.
The survey is a joint effort of the state Department of Health, the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Commerce, the Liquor Control Board, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.