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Mental-Health Checkups Suggested for Teenagers

School-based health centers should offer voluntary mental-health screenings to all teenagers, and parents should work with schools to ensure that their children have at least one mental-health checkup before graduating from high school, a report recommends.

For More Info
Survey results are available from the Columbia University TeenScreen Program (Requires free registration).

More than 800,000 teenagers suffer from depression each year, and more than 500,000 make a suicide attempt that requires medical attention, according to the report, which was commissioned by Columbia University's Carmel Hill Center for the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illness. It also says suicide is the third-leading cause of death among 15- to 19-year-olds.

"Catch Them Before They Fall: How to Implement Mental Health Screenings for Youth" is online at

—Kevin Bushweller

After-School Program

An after-school intervention program for high school students deemed at risk academically helped improve graduation and college-matriculation rates, but did little to raise achievement-test scores or reduce risky behaviors such as illegal drug use, according to a recent study.

The study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc., examined the Quantum Opportunity Program, which was established by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Ford Foundation. The program aims to help students with poor grades who are entering high schools that have high dropout rates. Between 1995 and 2001, it served 580 students at seven sites across the country.

—Kevin Bushweller

Junk Food and Soda

Companies that sell junk food and soda continue to advertise and market products to schools despite the rise in childhood obesity and other youth health problems related to poor diets, a university report says.

Issued by the commercialism-in-education unit at Arizona State University's Education Policy Studies Laboratory, the 39-page study concludes that increased pressure to improve students' academic performance prompts schools to accept money from corporations that sell candy and soft drinks to help pay for needed after-school and other academic programs. The report notes, for example, that many schools have increased the number of vending machines they have in their buildings, despite studies linking junk food with children's excessive weight.

—Rhea R. Borja

Vending Machines

For More Info
Subscription information is available from the Gallup Organization.

More than two-thirds of teenagers polled in a recent survey said they have bought junk food or soda from vending machines in their schools.

The Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing Survey, conducted throughout August and released last week, surveyed 517 students ages 13 to 17. It also found that about one of every five students orders meals from fast-food restaurants several times a week.

Online access to the survey results requires a subscription to the Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing, a special service of the Washington-based Gallup Organization.

—Kevin Bushweller

Youths' Ethics

For More Info
A summary of the findings is available in a news release from Junior Achievement.

Roughly a third of the teenagers responding to a national survey said they would act unethically to get ahead or to make money if there was no chance of getting caught. But more than half the youths said they believed that people who are ethical are more successful in business.

The survey—commissioned by the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Junior Achievement and conducted by the Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive polling firm—surveyed 624 young people ages 13 to 18.

—Kevin Bushweller

Vol. 23, Issue 6, Page 12

Published in Print: October 8, 2003, as Report Roundup
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