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CDC Report on Teen Health Has Encouraging News

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Teenagers are actually doing better than adults think, according to a new health survey of teens from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Back in 1997, for example, 36 percent of teens said they smoked cigarettes. That number was down more than half by 2013 to 15.7 percent, largely due to health campaigns and the high prices of cigarettes.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey of more than 13,000 teens goes into depth on some 100 risky behaviors.

Among other things, high school students are drinking less sugary drinks and less alcohol and also appear to be engaging in less sex.

One of the more encouraging finds is that students who reported being threatened or injured by someone holding a gun, knife or other weapon during school hours dropped from the 2003 peak of 9.3 percent to 6.9 percent last year.

Physical fights are also down at school from a high of 16 percent in 1991 to eight percent in 2013.

Meanwhile, kids are swapping TV for computers as favorite mindless pastimes. Although 32 percent of teens say they watch three hours of TV a day, a habit that has steadily dropped over time, four in ten spend three hours on the computer daily on stuff that is not related to school.

High schoolers are also getting lax about using condoms during sex, down from 63 percent in 2003 to 59 percent last year.


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