Thursday, August 25, 2005
Recent survey of young adults results presented

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital

Someone is always reporting on surveys. Some of the surveys have more meaningful data than others. However, all have interesting facts associated with them. A recent survey of young adults is no exception. It surveyed students between the ages of 12 and 18. Some results were not much of a surprise. For example 90 percent of students use the Internet for help with their homework. An additional 85 percent use the Internet to send email. Cell phones are owned by 62 percent of students. This would be pretty much expected. When asked about problem drugs in their schools, students listed marijuana first. Alcohol and harder drugs followed this. However, the next three were pain killers, cough medicines and steroids. Those might not be what were expected. Interestingly 16 percent of students did not feel that any of these were a problem. On a related note, 14 percent believed that steroid use by high school athletes is really big problem. In addition, 75 percent of them would have less respect for a professional athlete that took steroids. On a good note, 84 percent of students engage in some type of exercise on a regular basis. On the other hand, they considered obesity the biggest health problem facing young people. Cigarette smoking was second. Depression and other mental illness came in third. Drunk driving was fourth. Sexually transmitted diseases were fifth. There were some interesting thoughts about school. A lot of students expected to get education beyond high school. A surprising 97 percent planned to attend some college. In addition 76 percent planned on attending a four-year college. A related question showed that the students felt that they would work harder if their schools demanded more of them. This certainly lays out a challenge to the middle schools and high schools. The last portion of the questionnaire yielded something that was not a surprise to me. However, it may come as a surprise to other people. I have long held that the most important ingredient in any child's life is their parents. This survey confirmed that clearly. Students were asked about role models that they would most like to follow. Some picked teachers. Some picked sports figures. However, two-thirds selected their mother or father as the role model for them. This means that they look to their parents to show them what to do and how to act. That includes both good and bad actions. We parents need to be very aware of this fact. Our children notice everything. If we smoke, drink and use obscene language, we can expect similar things of our children. If we attend church and are respectful to others, our children will likely develop similar habits. When the students were asked about what they would wish for a better life, the answers were similar. Half of them just wanted to spend more time with the family. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday life, this is something that is often forgotten. It might even need to built into the daily schedule. However, it is so important to the young adult. It is a lot more important than parents tend to realize. Hopefully, this can help raise that awareness for them.

Dr. Anthony Policastro is medical director at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

New directory for persons with disabilities available
The "2005-2006 Guide to Services for Persons with Disabilities in Delaware," published by Delaware Health and Social Services' Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD), is available by calling, 1-800-223-9074 or by visiting the offices in Delaware. The publication is also available on the division's website, The 112-page directory includes a wide range of services and resources, including assistive technology, advocacy and support groups, housing, legal services, transportation, medical care, nursing homes, home health care and many other listings. The entire Americans with Disabilities Act is included in the publication. A Spanish language edition of the disabilities guide is also available. The periodical is also available at the Milford State Service Center, 18 North Walnut St., Milford, (302) 422-1386.