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Health and Colorado's Kids

This project is a series of interactive dash boards, accompanied by in-depth analyses, focusing on the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. The survey collects health information every other year from Colorado public school students.
Date last upated: March 18, 2017

This project is a series of interactive dash boards, accompanied by in-depth analyses, focusing on the rich new dataset provided by the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. The survey collects health information every other year from Colorado public school students. About 16,000 high school students took the 2015 survey. Results are tabulated on a statewide basis as well as by demographic characteristics. The data are also broken out regionally.

Sara Schmitt, CHI’s Director of Community Health Policy, is leading this project. Chrissy Esposito, who is working at CHI as a data visualization and storytelling intern, is creating the interactive data dashboards using Tableau software.

CHI is committed to helping stakeholders across Colorado look at data in new ways, and interact with it to focus on local information. An intimate understanding of the problem helps lead to targeted solutions — and a healthier Colorado.

The 2015 survey lacks data from four large counties – Weld, Douglas, Jefferson and El Paso. Douglas County did not participate in the survey.  Participation was so low in Weld, Jefferson and El Paso counties that the data could not be broken out individually, but it is included in the statewide findings.

Click the image for your topic of interest to view the interactive dashboard and analysis. 


Substance Use

Use of street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and ecstasy declined among Colorado teens between 2013 and 2015. Rates of drinking and prescription drug use, though, remained little changed.

Those findings are based on an analysis of data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which is administered every two years. Nearly 16,000 high school students took the survey in 2015.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis. 


Physical Activity

 In this era of tablet computers and smartphones, it can be hard to put down the touch screen and get active.

So difficult, in fact, that 34.1 percent of Colorado high school students spend three or more hours on an average school day playing a video or computer game, according to the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS). The rate has climbed from 2013, when it stood at  32.6 percent.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis. 


Marijuana

In 2013, one of five Colorado high schoolers said they recently had used marijuana. Two years later, not much had changed, even though retail marijuana sales to adults became legal in 2014.

Colorado high school usage climbed just one percentage point to 21 percent by 2015, according to the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. Not only was that little changed from 2013, it was lower than the national average of 22 percent.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis. 


Sexual Activity

In Colorado, about one of four high school students is currently having sex, and one of three have had sex at some point. Even for students who aren’t sexually active, high school is a time when they’re learning about sex, relationships and safety. Information and guidance come from a variety of (sometimes conflicting) sources — doctors, parents, teachers, friends, movies, the internet and more.

To figure out how this all translates to actual behavior, the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) turned to recently-released data from the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS). We looked at sexual health across a range of topics including sexual activity, contraceptive use, sexually-transmitted infection (STI) prevention and sexual or relationship violence.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis. 


Smoking

Holy smokes! Fewer Colorado high school students are smoking cigarettes, but many appear to be switching to electronic vapor smoking devices for their nicotine fix.

Those are among the findings of the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which collects health information from Colorado public school students.

The 2015 results found that 8.6 percent of students smoked cigarettes in the previous month, down from 10.7 percent in the 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. High school smoking in Colorado is just slightly lower than the national average of 9.3 percent.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis.  


Bullying

Heartbreaking.

That’s how a national public health official described new data that show gay, lesbian or bisexual high school students across the United States are at far greater risk for bullying than their straight peers.

The heartbreak is happening in Colorado as well.

New findings from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey reveal that more than 36 percent of gay, lesbian or bisexual students report having been bullied at school, roughly twice the 18.2 percent of heterosexual students who said they were bullied on school property.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis. 


Mental Health

Nearly one of three Colorado high school students (29.5 percent) feel so sad or hopeless for two weeks in a row that they stop doing their usual activities, a common symptom of depression. That’s up from less than 25 percent in 2013, according to newly released data from the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.

CHI analyzed the results of the survey to better understand how Colorado’s high school students are faring when it comes to mental health. The findings described in this analysis demonstrate that mental health weighs heavily on Colorado’s youth.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis. 


Violence

School is a frightening place for some of Colorado’s high school students.

Newly released data from the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey show that 5.5 percent of students say they skipped school because they felt unsafe while they were there or while they were getting there. That’s up just a bit from 2013, when 5.2 percent of students reported feeling so unsafe that they skipped school.

Click the image to view the interactive dashboard and read the full analysis.