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CHKS works closely with BHC to provide and apply data from Sacramento communities.

A new report released by Building Healthy Communities aggregates data from the California Healthy Kids Survey. CHKS conducted surveys at five high schools in the Sacramento area with 1,261 students participating in all. BHC compiled the results from the 2012-13 school year into their latest Health Index Report.

“The new BHC Health Index Report supports local efforts to improve the well-being of children and youth living in South Sacramento,” said Lori Nascimento, Evaluation Manager for the California Endowment. “With access to valuable data on children’s learning environments, the Index Report helps those who are working on school health issues to identify strengths as well as examine areas for improvement.”

BHC’s Index Report is divided into two categories: Behavioral Health Risk and Healthy Environmental Assets. Each category is then broken down into more specific areas. The results of the survey are converted to a score within each category and an Overall Score is added as an average of the two. It’s one thing to look at a bar graph and see the scores in each category. It’s another thing, however, to read the study in its entirety. Some statistics are encouraging while others are more concerning.

Of the students who were surveyed, for example, half received medical care when they needed it due to illness or injury. Only 17%, on the other hand, received counseling for things like stress, family problems, and drug use, when needed.

Despite the fact that about 60% of participants reported receiving B grades or higher, over 75% planned on going to a four year college after they graduate. In addition, almost 65% reported getting some kind of guidance on their futures.

When it comes to drug use, the Report offers some interesting new insight as well. At 19%, participants who had used marijuana in the past 30 days outnumbered those who had smoked cigarettes nearly four to one.

One of the last subcategories in the survey, Victimization, shed light on some other trends in Sacramento high schools, trends which may not be so surprising to the average student. About 23% reported some kind of stolen or damaged property. 36% reported being made fun of because of the way the look or talk. Another 21.3% reported had rumors or lies spread about them online. All of these instances of some sort of victimization had taken place within a 12 month period.

“Over time,” Nascimento says, “this tool will help us measure progress in creating and sustaining supportive school health environments.” To the folks at Building Healthy Communities, reports like this are crucial for deciding how precious resources can be used to the greatest effect.

The entire Health Index Report can be found here:

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