Tag Archives: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In many schools, students don’t have enough time to eat lunch

4 Dec

Moi wrote about the limited amount of time some students get to eat lunch in Do kids get enough time to eat lunch? Given the amount that must be packed into the school day, it is no surprise that the lunch period often get short shrift. https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

Eric Westervelt of NPR reported in the story, These Days, School Lunch Hours Are More Like 15 Minutes:

The school lunch hour in America is a long-gone relic. At many public schools today, kids are lucky to get more than 15 minutes to eat. Some get even less time.
And parents and administrators are concerned that a lack of time to eat is unhealthful, especially given that about one-third of American kids are overweight or obese.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students get at least 20 minutes for lunch. But that means 20 minutes to actually sit down and eat — excluding time waiting in line or walking from class to cafeteria.
At Oakland High, over 80 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. And officially, students get about 40 minutes for the meal. But Jennifer LeBarre, Oakland Unified School District’s nutrition services director, admits that the actual table time is far shorter. At times it’s just 10 minutes….
Oakland High is hardly alone. In a wide-ranging new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 20 percent of parents of students from kindergarten through fifth grade surveyed said their child only gets 15 minutes or less to eat.
Ironically, relatively new federal school-nutrition guideline changes may be making the situation worse. Under federal rules, schools have to increase the availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables — among other changes. It’s part of an effort to improve nutrition and combat childhood obesity.
But eating more healthful foods can take more time, LeBarre says. “It’s going to take longer to eat a salad than it will to eat french fries.”
At many schools, lunch schedules aren’t changing. Julia Bauscher, who is president of a national advocacy group called the School Nutrition Association, says administrators are under intense pressure to increase instruction time and boost standardized test scores. The lunch period is often the first place they look to steal time.
“[They’ve] got to get in this many instructional minutes, and this is our expected annual yearly progress on the test,” she says. “You’ve got two important and competing priorities there.”
Exacerbating the time crunch, nationally, is the reality that more students are taking part in the free or reduced-cost school lunch programs. Many schools are now adding free dinners as well under a new USDA dinner program launched this year. Bauscher is also the nutrition services director for Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky. She says in her area, 70 percent of the students are participating in meals programs — including free dinners for some.
“We’ve got a higher number of students eligible for free and reduced meals than ever. So as more of them take advantage of those programs, you get longer food lines,” she says.
Some possible solutions — such as adding lunch periods, more food stations or service workers or lengthening lunchtimes — can be costly. And many budget-strapped schools today simply don’t want to risk the added price….
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/04/248511038/these-days-school-lunch-hours-are-more-like-15-minutes

Citation:

Effects of Changes in Lunch-Time Competitive Foods, Nutrition Practices, and Nutrition Policies on Low-Income Middle-School Children’s Diets
To cite this article:
Katherine Alaimo, Shannon C. Oleksyk, Nick B. Drzal, Diane L. Golzynski, Jennifer F. Lucarelli, Yalu Wen, and Ellen M. Velie. Childhood Obesity. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/chi.2013.0052.
Online Ahead of Print: November 11, 2013
Full Text HTML http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/chi.2013.0052
Full Text PDF (343 KB) http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/chi.2013.0052
Full Text PDF with Links (343.8 KB) http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/chi.2013.0052
Author information
Katherine Alaimo, PhD,1 Shannon C. Oleksyk, MS, RD,2 Nick B. Drzal, MS, RD,3 Diane L. Golzynski, PhD, RD,3 Jennifer F. Lucarelli, PhD,4 Yalu Wen, PhD,5 and Ellen M. Velie, PhD5
1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.
2Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Lansing, MI.
3Michigan Department of Education, Lansing, MI.
4School of Health Sciences, Oakland University, Rochester, MI.
5Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.
Address correspondence to:
Katherine Alaimo, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Michigan State University
208C G.M. Trout FSHN Building
469 Wilson Road
East Lansing, MI 48824-1224
E-mail: alaimo@msu.edu
ABSTRACT
Background: The School Nutrition Advances Kids project tested the effectiveness of school-initiated and state-recommended school nutrition practice and policy changes on student dietary intake in low-income middle schools.
Methods: Schools recruited by an application for grant funding were randomly assigned to (1) complete an assessment of nutrition education, policies, and environments using the Healthy School Action Tools (HSAT) and implement an action plan, (2) complete the HSAT, implement an action plan, and convene a student nutrition action team, (3) complete the HSAT and implement an action plan and a Michigan State Board of Education nutrition policy in their cafeteria à la carte, or (4) a control group. All intervention schools were provided with funding and assistance to make self-selected nutrition practice, policy, or education changes. Block Youth Food Frequency Questionnaires were completed by 1176 seventh-grade students from 55 schools at baseline and during eighth-grade follow-up. Nutrient density and food group changes for the intervention groups were compared to the control group, controlling for baseline dietary intake values, gender, race/ethnicity, school kitchen type, urbanization, and percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Analyses were conducted by randomization and based on changes the schools self-selected.
Results: Improvements in students’ nutrient density and food group intake were found when schools implemented at least three new nutrition practice changes and established at least three new nutrition policies. Students in schools that introduced mostly healthful foods in competitive venues at lunch demonstrated the most dietary improvements.
Conclusions: New USDA nutrition standards for à la carte and vending will likely increase the healthfulness of middle school children’s diets.

The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management published the 2002 study, How Long Does it Take Students to Eat Lunch? A Summary of Three Studies by Martha T. Conklin, PhD, RD; Laurel G. Lambert, PhD, RD, LD; and Janet B. Anderson, MS, RD:

CONCLUSIONS AND APPLICATIONS
How long did it take K-12 students to eat? School children took an average of 7 to 10 minutes to consume their lunch. Some students, however, required less time, while others needed more. Sanchez, Hoover, Sanchez, et al. (1999) reported that 39%, 27%, and 20% of students in elementary, middle, and high schools, respectively, took longer than 10 minutes to consume their lunch. We suggest school foodservice directors read the research articles generated by these studies to consider the entire spectrum of data collected (Bergman et al., 2000; Sanchez, Hoover, Sanchez, et al., 1999). In school districts where the scheduled lunch period is a contested issue, the only way school foodservice directors could know precisely whether this average reflects students in their program is to conduct a time study using similar methods. The procedures to follow for conducting such a time study have been published (Sanchez, Hoover, Cater, et al., 1999).
Eating time encompasses only the physical act of eating and drinking. This time did not seem to relate to the age of students, size of the school district, complexity of the menu, length of the lunch period, serving styles, holding students at the table, or scheduling recess prior to the meal period (Table 1). An earlier study found that the timing of recess was associated with reduced plate waste, particularly with boys, when physical activities were scheduled prior to lunch (Getlinger, Laughlin, Bell, Akre, & Arjmandi, 1996). As shown in Figure 1, the researchers found that in one elementary school (EUT1) that scheduled recess prior to lunch, the averaged the same amount of time to eat. Because the time studies did not record plate waste, we can only assume students may have eaten more in the same amount of time, or the timing of recess may not have made a difference in consumption patterns with this group of elementary students.
Non-eating or socializing at the table was the most variable time among the schools, and not surprisingly, the amount of time spent in these activities seemed to change directly with the length of the lunch period. These acts included arranging the tray or food, eating, talking, laughing, and other types of social interaction with friends at the table. School foodservice directors could minimize the time used by students in arranging the food for eating by evaluating the manner in which condiments are packaged for ease of use. This would be especially important for elementary students (Sanchez, Hoover, Sanchez, et al., 1999).
Socializing is an important aspect of dining because allowing students sufficient time to relate to others provides a break in routine and refreshes them for afternoon classes. This may be the reason why members of the Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating in Schools mentioned the importance of enjoying meals with friends as a vital component of healthy eating (American Academy of Family Physicians et al., 2000). Perhaps if students were given at least a 20-minute period at the table, as recommended by food and nutrition professionals (USDA, 2000), both eating and socializing activities could be accommodated for the average individual.
If 20 minutes at the table were the goal, then school foodservice directors would need to factor in the following: average travel time to the cafeteria; time for service, including travel to the eating area; and bussing of trays after the meal to yield an ideal lunch period. The service aspect is the one element a school foodservice director can most directly influence. In this research, the bussing of trays consistently averaged under one minute, even for elementary students, but the average service time per student varied from approximately three minutes to slightly over eight minutes (Figure 1). Among the factors that positively influence service time are:
o the number of serving lines;
o whether all food choices are available on each line;
o training of service staff and cashiers to provide efficient service;
o the designation of a “runner” to replenish food on the line (Nettles & Conklin, 1996); and
an automated point of sales system.
School foodservice directors should carefully review each of these areas to determine whether service efficiency could be improved, especially if doing so will enable students to enjoy their lunch for at least 20 minutes at the table.
If 20 minutes at the table represents 78% of the meal period (Figure 2), a goal for the entire time students spend in the cafeteria would be at least 26 minutes. This would allow four minutes for travel to and from the cafeteria in a 30-minute lunch period. Although this calculation is based strictly on averages, a school foodservice director could use this type of logic in documenting an ideal lunch period with school administrators.http://docs.schoolnutrition.org/newsroom/jcnm/02spring/conklin/

Bradley and Ritter argue that shorter lunch times do not feed the needs of the “whole child.”

In order to ensure that ALL children have a basic education, we must take a comprehensive approach to learning.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Pediatrics article: Sexual abuse prevalent in teen population

10 Oct

Moi wrote about teen dating violence in Study: 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence: Many adults would be shocked by this report from the Chicago Tribune that many teens find dating violence normal
Ed Loos, a junior at Lake Forest High School, said a common reaction among students to Chris Brown‘s alleged attack on Rihanna goes something like this:

“Ha! She probably did something to provoke it.” In Chicago, Sullivan High School sophomore Adeola Matanmi has heard the same. “People said, ‘I would have punched her around too,’ ” Matanmi said. “And these were girls!” As allegations of battery swirl around the famous couple, experts on domestic violence say the response from teenagers just a few years younger shows the desperate need to educate this age group about dating violence. Their acceptance, or even approval, of abuse in romantic relationships is not a universal reaction. But it comes at a time when 1 in 10 teenagers has suffered such abuse and females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of any age group, research shows.

The teens interviewed by the Chicago Tribune placed little worth on their lives or the lives of other women. If you don’t as the old ad tag line would say “don’t think you are worth it” why would anyone else think you are worthy of decent treatment? https://drwilda.com/2013/08/05/study-1-in-3-teens-are-victims-of-dating-violence/

Nancy Shute reported in NPR’s Many Teens Admit To Coercing Others Into Sex:

Almost 1 in 10 high school and college-aged people have forced someone into sexual activity against his or her will, a study finds. The majority of those who have done it think that the victim is at least partly to blame.
The results come from a multiyear study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was designed to look for the roots of adult sexual violence. Most adult perpetrators say they first preyed on another while still in their teens.
In adulthood, more than 1 million people are the victims of rape or sexual assault each year, according to the National Institutes of Justice. Domestic violence affects more than 2 million adults a year.
A multiple-choice online survey conducted in 2010 and 2011 asked 1,058 teenagers and young adults, ages 14 to 21, whether they’d ever “kissed, touched, or done anything sexual with another person when that person did not want you to?”
Nine percent said yes. Eight percent had kissed or touched someone when they knew the other person did not want to. Three percent got someone to give in to unwilling sex. Three percent attempted to rape the person, and 2 percent completed a rape. (The numbers don’t add up because some perpetrators admitted to more than one behavior.)
This may be the first survey to ask questions like these, and the researchers caution that because of the relatively small number of youths involved, the results aren’t definitive. But they are certainly chilling.
“I don’t get creeped out very often,” says Michele Ybarra, lead researcher of the study, which was published online in JAMA Pediatrics. “But this was wow.”
When asked who was to blame, half of the perpetrators said the victim was completely responsible; one-third said it was their own fault. “If half of the perpetrators felt the victim was responsible for this, we need to do something,” Ybarra, who is president and research director of the Center for Innovative Public Health in San Clemente, Calif.
Sixteen seems to be the age when sexual coercion becomes a real possibility, at least for boys. Almost half of the study participants said they first forced someone to have sexual activity when they were 16. But by age 18, girls had become much more involved in preying on others, to the point where they were almost as likely to be perpetrators as were boys.
Three-quarters of the victims were in a romantic relationship with the perpetrator.
The coercion used was almost always psychological, not physical. The most common tactics for forcing or trying to force sex were guilt, deliberately getting the victim drunk or arguing with or pressuring the victim. Five percent threatened to use physical force, and 8 percent did. The survey used the federal Bureau of Justice definition of rape, which includes psychological coercion as well as physical force.
The survey also looked at media use and found that perpetrators of sexual violence were more likely to watch violent X-rated materials than were the others.
By now most parents reading this are probably ready to hide. But Ybarra tells Shots these numbers show that parents need to act and well before their children are 16.
“We absolutely need to have conversations with our kids about what healthy sex is and what unhealthy sex is,” she says. Parents could say, “‘If you have to convince your partner, maybe that’s not the right way to have sex.’ Even simple messages like that are important.”
Related NPR Stories
Teen Sexual Assault: Where Does The Conversation Start?
http://www.npr.org/2013/04/28/179671126/teen-sexual-assault-where-does-the-conversation-start
How Should We Be Talking About Sex?
http://www.npr.org/2013/03/27/175466868/how-should-we-be-talking-about-sex
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/08/230428115/many-teens-admit-to-coercing-others-into-sex

Citation:

Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents ONLINE FIRST
Michele L. Ybarra, MPH, PhD1; Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD2
[+-] Author Affiliations
1Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San Clemente, California
2Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham
JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 07, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2629 Text Size: A A A .Published online
Article
Tables
References
Comments .ABSTRACT.
ABSTRACT | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES ..Importance Sexual violence can emerge in adolescence, yet little is known about youth perpetrators—especially those not involved with the criminal justice system.
Objective To report national estimates of adolescent sexual violence perpetration and details of the perpetrator experience.
Design, Setting, and Participants Data were collected online in 2010 (wave 4) and 2011 (wave 5) in the national Growing Up With Media study. Participants included 1058 youths aged 14 to 21 years who at baseline read English, lived in the household at least 50% of the time, and had used the Internet in the last 6 months. Recruitment was balanced on youths’ biological sex and age.
Main Outcomes and Measures Forced sexual contact, coercive sex, attempted rape, and completed rape.
Results Nearly 1 in 10 youths (9%) reported some type of sexual violence perpetration in their lifetime; 4% (10 females and 39 males) reported attempted or completed rape. Sixteen years old was the mode age of first sexual perpetration (n = 18 [40%]). Perpetrators reported greater exposure to violent X-rated content. Almost all perpetrators (98%) who reported age at first perpetration to be 15 years or younger were male, with similar but attenuated results among those who began at ages 16 or 17 years (90%). It is not until ages 18 or 19 years that males (52%) and females (48%) are relatively equally represented as perpetrators. Perhaps related to age at first perpetration, females were more likely to perpetrate against older victims, and males were more likely to perpetrate against younger victims. Youths who started perpetrating earlier were more likely than older youths to get in trouble with caregivers; youths starting older were more likely to indicate that no one found out about the perpetration.
Conclusions and Relevance Sexual violence perpetration appears to emerge earlier for males than females, perhaps suggesting different developmental trajectories. Links between perpetration and violent sexual media are apparent, suggesting a need to monitor adolescents’ consumption of this material. Victim blaming appears to be common, whereas experiencing consequences does not. There is therefore urgent need for school programs that encourage bystander intervention as well as implementation of policies that could enhance the likelihood that perpetrators are identified.

Advice to Teens in Abusive Relationships

Terry Miller Shannon gives teens advice about avoiding abusive relationships She advises teens to watch for the following danger signs:

1. Sweeping you off your feet and declaring love immediately. This is the number one sign of a potentially battering relationship.

2. Jealousy: Not wanting you to have other friends. Thinking everyone around WANTS you. Expecting you to spend every second with him. Sorry, extreme jealousy isn’t a compliment – it’s a problem.

3. Controlling behavior: Keeping track of whom you’re with and where you are. Telling you what to wear. Picking your friends. Keeping you from getting a job. Taking your money. Threatening to commit suicide, to spread gossip about you, or out you if you’re part of a same-sex couple (gay and lesbian dating violence is under-reported due to pressures not to go public).

4. Violence (physical, mental, or sexual): Punching the wall. Yelling. Insults. Name-calling. Isolating you from family or friends. Slamming the door. Insisting on any kind of unwanted sexual activity. Throwing things. Pinching, pushing, spanking…enough said?

Bottom line: If you’re uncomfortable with your relationship, something’s wrong. Mind your instincts. Be realistic – don’t expect your mate to change. Don’t believe him when he tells you the way he acts is your fault. http://teenadvice.about.com/library/weekly/aa061002a.htm

Popular culture makes teens who are not involved in activities as “couples” seem like outcasts. Too often, teens pair up before they are mature enough and ready for the emotional commitment. The more activities the girl is involved in and the more sponsored group activities, where teens don’t necessarily have to be in dating relationships, lessen the dependence on an abusive relationship.

Related:

The ‘Animal House’ attitude of some college administrators doesn’t take rape seriously
https://drwilda.com/2013/04/23/the-animal-house-attitude-of-some-college-administrators-doesnt-take-rape-seriously/

A tale of rape from Amherst: Sexual assault on campus
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/27/a-tale-of-rape-from-amherst-sexual-assault-on-campus/

Sexual assault on college campuses
https://drwilda.com/2012/04/21/sexual-assault-on-college-campuses/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Study: 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence

5 Aug

Many adults would be shocked by this report from the Chicago Tribune that many teens find dating violence normal

Ed Loos, a junior at Lake Forest High School, said a common reaction among students to Chris Brown‘s alleged attack on Rihanna goes something like this: “Ha! She probably did something to provoke it.” In Chicago, Sullivan High School sophomore Adeola Matanmi has heard the same. “People said, ‘I would have punched her around too,’ ” Matanmi said. “And these were girls!” As allegations of battery swirl around the famous couple, experts on domestic violence say the response from teenagers just a few years younger shows the desperate need to educate this age group about dating violence. Their acceptance, or even approval, of abuse in romantic relationships is not a universal reaction. But it comes at a time when 1 in 10 teenagers has suffered such abuse and females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of any age group, research shows.

The teens interviewed by the Chicago Tribune placed little worth on their lives or the lives of other women. If you don’t as the old ad tag line would say “don’t think you are worth it” why would anyone else think you are worthy of decent treatment?

Science Daily reported in the article, One in Three U. S. Youths Report Being Victims of Dating Violence:

About one in three American youths age 14-20 say they’ve been of victims of dating violence and almost one in three acknowledge they’ve committed violence toward a date, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 121st Annual Convention.
“Adolescent dating violence is common among young people. It also overlaps between victimization and perpetration and appears across different forms of dating abuse,” according to Michele Ybarra, MPH, PhD. She is with the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, based in San Clemente, Calif.
Researchers analyzed information collected in 2011 and 2012 from 1,058 youths in the Growing Up with Media study, a national online survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study defines teen dating violence as physical, sexual or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship.
Girls were almost equally likely to be a perpetrator as a victim of violence: 41 percent reported victimization and 35 percent reported perpetration at some point in their lives. Among boys, 37 percent said they had been on the receiving end, while 29 percent reported being the perpetrator, Ybarra said. Twenty-nine percent of the girls and 24 percent of the boys reported being both a victim and perpetrator in either the same or in different relationships.
Girls were significantly more likely than boys to say they had been victims of sexual dating violence and that they had committed physical dating violence. Boys were much more likely than girls to report that they had been sexually violent toward a date. Experiencing psychological dating violence was about equal for boys and girls. Rates generally increased with age but were similar across race, ethnicity and income levels, according to Ybarra.
The relationship between bullying and teen dating violence was the focus of a separate presentation by Sabina Low, PhD, of Arizona State University, and Dorothy L. Espelage, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Low and Espelage detailed findings from a five-year study funded by the CDC and National Institute of Justice involving 625 American youths who completed surveys six times from middle school through high school.
“Both boys and girls who engaged in high rates of bullying toward other students at the start of the study were seven times more likely to report being physically violent in dating relationships four years later,” said Espelage, principal investigator on the project. “These findings indicate that bully prevention needs to start early in order to to prevent the transmission of violence in dating relationships….”

Citation:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association (APA).
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
________________________________________
American Psychological Association (APA) (2013, July 31). One in three U. S. youths report being victims of dating violence. Science Daily. Retrieved August 5, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2013/07/130731152208.htm#.UfoIaj10JQg.email
Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731152208.htm#.UfoIaj10JQg.email

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a press release about a study of teen dating violence. Here is a portion:

A new study of 1,430 7th-grade students released today reveals that many 7th-graders are dating and experiencing physical, psychological and electronic dating violence. More than one in three (37%) students surveyed report being a victim of psychological dating violence and nearly one in six (15%) report being a victim of physical dating violence. The study also found that while some attitudes and behaviors associated with increased risk for teen dating violence are pervasive, nearly three-quarters of students surveyed report talking to their parents about dating and teen dating violence. Parent-child communication is considered a protective factor that reduces the risk for teen dating violence.
The study was conducted by RTI International (RTI) on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation as part of an independent evaluation of their Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) initiative. The data released today is the baseline for this larger evaluation to assess the overall impact of the program. Start Strong is one of the largest initiatives ever funded that targets 11- to 14-year-olds to promote healthy relationships in order to prevent teen dating violence and abuse.
The Start Strong evaluation is one of the few studies, and one of the largest, to look in-depth at the dating relationships of middle school students. Although it is not nationally representative, the study sample included 1,430 7th-grade students from diverse geographical locations. The study collected data on teen dating violence behaviors, as well as risk and protective factors linked to dating violence, such as gender stereotypes, sexual harassment, the acceptance of teen dating violence and parent-child communication.
“There is limited information on 7th-graders and these data provide important insights into teen dating violence behaviors and risk factors among middle school students,” said Shari Miller, Ph.D., lead researcher from RTI. “From this study, we are learning that many 7th-graders are already dating and teen dating violence is not happening behind closed doors with so many students in this study witnessing dating violence among their peers. While we need to do much more to understand this young age group, our data point to the need for teen dating violence prevention programs in middle school.”
Among the key findings:
o 75% of students surveyed report ever having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
o More than 1 in 3 (37%) students surveyed report being a victim of psychological dating violence in the last 6 months.
o Nearly 1 in 6 (15%) students surveyed report being a victim of physical dating violence in the last 6 months.
o Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) students surveyed report being a victim of electronic dating aggression in the last 6 months.
o More than 1 in 3 (37%) of students surveyed report having witnessed boys or girls being physically violent to persons they were dating in the last 6 months.
o Nearly 2 out of 3 students surveyed (63%) strongly agree with a harmful gender stereotype, such as “girls are always trying to get boys to do what they want them to do,” or “with boyfriends and girlfriends, the boy should be smarter than the girl.”
o Nearly half of students surveyed (49%) report having been a victim of sexual harassment in the past 6 months, such as being “touched, grabbed, or pinched in a sexual way,” or that someone ”made sexual jokes” about them.
o Nearly three-quarters of 7th-grade students surveyed report that, in the last 6 months, they “sometimes or often” talk with their parents about dating topics such as, “how to tell if someone might like you as a boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Prevention in Middle School Matters
“Dating violence is a pressing public health challenge and these new data are important and powerful. We know that middle school provides this critical window of opportunity to teach young adolescents about healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence,” said James Marks, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president and director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Group. “Through Start Strong, we are identifying and spreading effective ways for parents, teachers and communities to help young people develop healthy relationships throughout their life.”
The Start Strong program utilizes a multi-faceted approach to rally entire communities to promote healthy relationship behaviors among middle school students. The Start Strong model utilizes innovative program components to: i) educate and engage youth in schools and out of school settings; ii) educate and engage teen influencers, such as parents, older teens, teachers and other mentors; iii) change policy and environmental factors in schools and communities; and iv) implement effective communications/ social marketing strategies to change social norms. “By combining the findings of this new study with the lessons learned in Start Strong communities, we are developing the essential tools needed to promote healthier relationships for young people,” said Peter Long, Ph.D., president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation.
Parent engagement is a key component of Start Strong. As the study shows, many 7th-graders are talking to their parents about dating topics, including teen dating violence. This highlights the important role parents can play in prevention efforts. Start Strong educates parents of middle school students about these issues so they can help their children navigate new relationships (both online and offline), including teaching parents the warning signs of abuse and how to start conversations about healthy relationships at an early age.
For more information and the full study, visit: http://www.rwjf.org/goto/middleschoolmatters

http://www.rwjf.org/vulnerablepopulations/product.jsp?id=74138

See, Teen Dating Violence: One In Six U.S. Students Age 12 Are Victimized, SurveyShows http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/one-in-six-us-students-_n_1389326.html?ref=email_share
Advice to Teens in Abusive Relationships

Terry Miller Shannon gives teens advice about avoiding abusive relationships She advises teens to watch for the following danger signs:

1. Sweeping you off your feet and declaring love immediately. This is the number one sign of a potentially battering relationship.
2. Jealousy: Not wanting you to have other friends. Thinking everyone around WANTS you. Expecting you to spend every second with him. Sorry, extreme jealousy isn’t a compliment – it’s a problem.
3. Controlling behavior: Keeping track of whom you’re with and where you are. Telling you what to wear. Picking your friends. Keeping you from getting a job. Taking your money. Threatening to commit suicide, to spread gossip about you, or out you if you’re part of a same-sex couple (gay and lesbian dating violence is under-reported due to pressures not to go public).
4. Violence (physical, mental, or sexual): Punching the wall. Yelling. Insults. Name-calling. Isolating you from family or friends. Slamming the door. Insisting on any kind of unwanted sexual activity. Throwing things. Pinching, pushing, spanking…enough said?
Bottom line: If you’re uncomfortable with your relationship, something’s wrong. Mind your instincts. Be realistic – don’t expect your mate to change. Don’t believe him when he tells you the way he acts is your fault.
See, Five Things Parents Must Know about teen domestic violence. http://teenhealth.about.com/od/relationships/tp/teenDVhub.htm

Popular culture makes teens who are not involved in activities as “couples” seem like outcasts. Too often, teens pair up before they are mature enough and ready for the emotional commitment. The more activities the girl is involved in and the more sponsored group activities, where teens don’t necessarily have to be in dating relationships, lessen the dependence on an abusive relationship.

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