Physical inactivity, obesity, school violence, drug and alcohol use concerning for Alberta youth

Albertans say physical inactivity, childhood obesity and cyberbullying top the list of health issues facing youth in the province.

A new survey reveals the top concerns among adults in Alberta when it comes to children’s and teens’ overall well-being.

Physical inactivity and childhood obesity top the list as the most significant concerns among adults in the province at 89 per cent. Around the same number (86 per cent) feel that bullying and cyberbullying are concerning.

Unhealthy eating was also in the top five at 84 per cent.

As more children have access to the internet and social media at school and via smartphones, many Albertans also expressed concerns about safety online. Eight in 10 (85 per cent) cited internet safety as a problem for youth.

“The survey results offer a valuable sense of both the concerns in the province and what our priorities as a community can be in addressing the health problems faced by children and adolescents in Alberta today,” says Gianni Del Negro, a pharmacist at London Drugs.

The poll, conducted by Insights West on behalf of London Drugs, asked parents and non-parents to identify problematic health-related concerns for children and teens as the new school year begins.

The first month of a new school year can be an especially challenging time for kids with new teachers, new classmates, more challenging curriculum, and all of the social pressures that come along with that.

About three quarters (76 per cent) of adults in Alberta feel that stress is a problem for youth.

A host of substance abuse issues were high on the list of concerns as well, including alcohol and drug use (78 per cent) and smoking (71 per cent).

“There is cause for concern about substance use, especially given the vulnerability of young people and the accessibility of certain drugs,” explains Del Negro.

“In fact, many prescription drugs that have a high potential for misuse come from the medicine cabinets of friends and families.

“Cleaning out your medicine cabinet and safely disposing of unused and expired medications at the pharmacy is one way we can all help reduce the potential harms.”

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