(CBS4) – Colorado’s children in middle school and high school are improving their health in some ways, but struggle with other aspects of their health. The new information comes from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s bi-annual statewide Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS).

(credit: CBS)

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The department notes the survey, taken in the fall of 2019, is the largest so far; more than 100,000 middle and high students were surveyed in 503 public schools in 59 Colorado counties.

The survey found 34.7% of students are feeling depressed, up from 31.4% in 2017. The number of students who seriously considered suicide or attempted it did not change from 2017, the survey showed.

The number of students smoking cigarettes decreased by 1.5% from 2017 to 2019, and CDPHE notes there has been no significant change in the number of students vaping; 25.9% in 2019, down from 27% in 2017.

However, the number of children who think vaping is risky grew more than 23% between 2017 and 2019.

Health experts say youth marijuana use has not change significantly since it was legalized in 2012. They do note the method of marijuana use is changing. Students are vaping and dabbing marijuana more.

Marijuana vaping increased to 10.6% in 2019 from 5.1% in 2015. Dabbing increased to 20.4% last fall from 4.3% in 2015.

While about a quarter of the students say they are sexually active, nearly 80% of those students use birth control, nearly 60% used a condom the last time they had sex, and nearly 80% say they did not take drugs or drink alcohol before sex.

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A majority, 72.7%, say they have a trusted adult to turn to if they have a serious problem. Most think their family has clear rules about drugs and alcohol, and more than 86% say they feel safe at school.

LINK: Health Kids Colorado Survey

Additional Resources:

SUICIDE HOTLINE: 1.844.493.8255 or text TALK to 38255

Colorado Crisis Services 

Children’s Colorado Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Danielle Chavira