FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has published the 2012-13 Student Wellness Survey.

The data was collected from more than 35,000 students in Grades 6-12 from 177 schools across the province. Participating schools and all districts received their specific results earlier this year and have been using the data to identify priorities and actions.

"This data is important as we work with stakeholders, schools and families to improve the wellness of New Brunswickers", said Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard. "The New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey allows us to identify the major challenges we face."

At a provincial level, the new data shows improvements when it comes to youth eating more fruits and vegetables as well as breakfast. While there has been an increase in the number of students who are spending more than two hours in front of a screen, more students say they are getting at least an hour of physical activity. It is anticipated that the province-wide rollout of the Premier's Challenge initiative in partnership with Active at School and Canadian Tire Corp. in September 2014 will further increase physical activity rates among students.

On the subject of tobacco use, there has been an increase in the number of teens who have tried smoking before reaching Grade 12. However, fewer teenagers are being exposed to tobacco smoke in vehicles.

The New Brunswick Health Council partners with the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities to analyze the data.

"The survey results provide opportunities for schools, communities and government to work together to measure, monitor and evaluate the progress of our children and youth in support of evidence-based decision making," said Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the New Brunswick Health Council. "This collaboration has enhanced our ability to inform New Brunswickers regarding the health of our children and youth."

The survey is led by the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities in support of the Wellness Strategy in cooperation with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The goal is to examine the health and wellness attitudes and behaviours of students as well as to share the data to help promote action around wellness.

LINKS:

●    Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities
●    New Brunswick Health Council