Smoking, obesity top north Okaloosa County health concerns

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 02:43 PM.

Starting off young

On the upside, 61.1 percent of area adolescents receive adequate physical activity, according to Cholcher's statistics. Okaloosa kids beat the statewide average of 59.4 percent who exercise daily, but the county's goal is for 85 percent of young people to get enough exercise.

There's more encouraging news: 88.7 percent of our middle school students and 87.5 percent of our high school kids are at ahealthy weight. Our middle school kids are just about at the state average, while Okaloosa County's high schoolers surpass the state average of 85.7 percent.

However, county health authorities are tracking alarming substance abuse trends.

•9.1 percent of middle school students and 28 percent of high school kids have used tobacco in the past 30 days

•6 percent of middle schoolers and 17.5 percent of high school students have smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.

For them, comprehensive health information is necessary, Cholcher's report said. However, “only 4.8 percent of Okaloosa County high school students report receiving comprehensive tobacco-use prevention education,” contrasted with the state's 7.4 percent average, the report stated.

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