Health issues

Parents worried about state health survey aimed at addressing youth health issues

COLORADO SPRINGS – Some parents are raising concerns about a state health investigation.

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is the state’s only comprehensive survey of the health and well-being of young people. This is an anonymous, voluntary survey of middle and high school students every two years to better understand their health and the factors that help them make healthy choices.

“I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it. In my opinion, it can cause students who are thinking about suicide to go to their backyards and further increase that thinking process,” said Katelyn Wood.

Wood is among the parents concerned with some of the questions in the investigation. Her younger sister and children are in Widefield School District 3, which chose to participate in the survey. Students are asked questions about sexual activity, sexual consent, drug and alcohol use, suicide, gun possession, bullying and other behaviors.

“Health issues are different from personal issues. Whoever is in this family must stay in this family. sex or smoke marijuana. Unless it’s a school problem in that they smoke marijuana at school, then that’s a problem. What a student does outside of school is a family issue, ”said Wood.

“Research shows that asking young people to participate in a survey does not influence their health behavior. Most of the questions in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey come from the National Risk Behavior Survey. of Youth created by the CDC in which Colorado has participated since 1991. In addition, CDPHE is leading a collaborative process of refining survey instruments where youth, parents, school administrators, local and state organizations can influence ‘addition of questions on emerging health topics. Final decisions are made by a steering committee that relies heavily on this input, ”said Emily Fine, School and Youth Survey Manager for the Department of Public Health and ‘Colorado Environment.

The state health department says the aim of the survey is to better understand the physical, mental, social and behavioral health of children.

“The survey results are widely used by schools, districts, local public health agencies, youth organizations, state departments focused on youth health. for schools and communities to address health issues, and can truly educate parents about relevant health topics to discuss with their children.

Colorado Springs School District 11 chose to participate in the survey.

“We review this data set every two years. We started doing this survey in our own school district in 2017, so we have two previous administrations of this data. We use it to track trends over time so that what is happening in our community and with bullying. Bullying is part of the questions and the conversation and we’ve seen those numbers go down. So what is the programming that we have in the classroom, how has it impacted the students and the results? We also see what type of programs or gaps exist, so we’re going to take the datasets, look at them, look for where we can put new practices, interventions or policies in place, ”said Cory Notestine, Executive Director of Success. and student well-being.

Notestine says the investigation benefits the district in several ways.

“First, because we’re one of the largest districts in our community to participate, we now have a regional footprint of what’s going on with youth outcomes. Before District 11 in 2017 began this process with our schools, El Paso County was left out of the regional conversation of youth and the impacts they have in the community. This is an advantage, we can see in general what is happening in our region. Another element is that we can look at the data and then use that data to apply for grants that might be able to support our programming, ”Notestine said.

Parents just want a little more information about the survey and its purpose.

“You can’t just send a letter home to a parent that says we’re going to give your child a survey to find out if he smokes weed, has sex, uses a condom. ‘he had a ventilation letter saying that we are giving you this investigation because that is why. If I had a letter like that with detailed information saying that is why we are doing this, then maybe I could be changing your mind, ”Wood said.

The state health department says there are multiple levels of consent with the survey at the district, school, parent and student levels. Anyone interested in knowing more about the survey can visit Healthykidscolo.org [healthykidscolo.org].


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