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Report: Not all kids are all right

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Report: Not all kids are all right
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

So how are the young people in Minnesota doing?

To a distressing degree, it depends a lot on what race you're talking about.

American Indian kids and children of color are dealing with a lot more stress on a daily basis than white kids -- who are under plenty of stress themselves.

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A recent Minnesota Department of Health report on the mental, emotional and physical health status of young people in Minnesota show wide differences among racial-ethnic groups in Minnesota.

• The mortality rate for American Indian youth 12-19 years old is more than twice as high as any other racial-ethnic group. African American youth have the second highest mortality rate.

• African American, American Indian, Asian and Hispanic students are much more likely than white students to report frequent emotional distress, including sadness, nervousness, high stress, and hopelessness. These groups all report higher rates of suicidal thoughts than white students.

• American Indian and African American students report the highest rates of chronic physical health problems in general and asthma in particular. Asian students report the lowest rates.

• Nearly one-third of African American, American Indian and Hispanic 9th and 12th grade students are overweight or obese, according to their self-reported height and weight.

A wide variety of behaviors can have immediate and long-term impacts on health and vary widely among adolescents from different racial-ethnic groups.

• Students of color in general are somewhat less likely than white students to participate in moderate and strenuous physical activity.

• American Indian, African American, Asian and Hispanic students are more likely than white students to have experienced physical or sexual abuse.

African American, American Indian and Hispanic students are more likely than other racial-ethnic groups to report hitting or beating up another person, carrying a weapon on school property, being the victim of physical or sexual date violence, and missing school because they feel unsafe.

• Asian students report the lowest rates of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use of any racial-ethnic group. Asian students are also less likely than other groups to report that alcohol use by a family member has caused repeated problems for the family.

• The teen birth rates for African American, American Indian and Hispanic teens aged 15-19 are four to six times higher than the teen birth rate for white teens. Among 12th graders Asian students are the least likely of all racial-ethnic groups to report being sexually active.

Sad as some of them are, results from the Health Department study can help to establish priorities, develop policies, and evaluate progress in improving health among minority groups.

And there has been progress: Since the 1990s, students from all groups have experienced substantial declines in smoking, binge drinking, sexual activity, violence, carrying a weapon on school property, drinking soda pop, and riding in a car without wearing a seat belt.

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