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The National Association of State Boards of Education and the Tobacco Institute have developed a 20-page booklet to help parents and their teen-age children better communicate and understand each other.

Phyllis Blaunstein, executive director of nasbe, said that the Tobacco Institute, a Washington-based trade association that represents U.S. cigarette manufacturers, approached the state-boards group with an offer to help develop educational materials for teen-agers; nasbe officials suggested that the institute sponsor the communications booklet.

The publication, Helping Youth Decide, has three parts: The first section describes what adolescents go through in their teen-age years; the second part suggests ways to develop more open lines of communication between parents and teen-agers; and the third includes material to help families put into practice some of the ideas presented.

"Young teen-agers are trying to arrive at a clear sense of their own feelings and beliefs," the report notes. "While they want to be unique, they are afraid of being 'different.' Adolescence is a time of experimenting and testing."

The report suggests that good communication within the family is "the foundation for the mutual trust that encourages responsibility." It urges parents to be attentive, to listen with respect, and to try to empathize with their teen-agers.

Helping Youth Decide is available free from nasbe, P.O. Box 1176, Alexandria, Va. 22313.

Children in the Northeast miss more school days than the national average and children in the South miss fewer, according to a new government study of health characteristics.

The study by the National Center for Health Statistics is based on data collected from 78,000 households in 1980 and 1981.

It is part of an ongoing nationwide survey of households called the ''National Health Interview Survey."

The study found that children ages 6 to 16 were absent from school due to illness or injury an average of 5.1 days per year.

Children in the Northeast were absent an average of 5.9 days, while the average for children in the South was 4.5 days. The averages for other regions of the country did not differ signficantly from one another.

In the Northeast, "if a kid has the sniffles, you tend to keep him at home," said Robert R. Fuchsberg, director of the division of Health Interview Statistics. "In a warmer cliyou have a tendency to send the kid off to school."

The survey also indicates that children under 17 years old have the highest injury rate of all the age groups in the survey. Approximately 38 out of every 100 individuals under the age of 17 were injuredel10leach year, compared with 31 people out of every 100 for all age groups combined.

In addition, children had the highest incidence of short-term ailments that either required medical attention or restricted their normal activity.

Children had 320 such incidents per 100 members of their age group each year; all age groups combined had 217 such incidents per 100 people each year.

However, children were not significantly more likely to see doctors or dentists than other age groups, and they were far less likely to have spent time in a hospital.

Moreover, approximately 96 percent of the children of those surveyed were reported to have excellent or good health, compared to 87 percent of the total population surveyed.

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