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American Teens Are Smoking and Drinking Less than Teens from Other Developed Countries

posted 12:20 AM EST, Mon December 14, 2009
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American Teens Are Smoking and Drinking Less than Teens from Other Developed Countries © Photo Credit: Valentin.Ottone

American teens are smoking and drinking less than teens from just about every other developed country – they remain the most obese, however.

A lot of American teens still drink and smoke more than health officials might like, but when you compare domestic abuse rates to those in other developed countries, things don’t look so bad.

Researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looked at school based sample data from the 2005-2006 year to determine rates of alcohol use and smoking amongst 15 years olds in 24 OCED countries.

The Results:

  • 9% of American 15 year old girls and 7% of American 15 year old boys smoke more than once a week – which is the lowest percentage rate of the 24 countries surveyed. Countries with the worst smoking records include Austria, Czech and Hungary, where more than 20% of 15 year olds smoke more than once a week.
  • 20% of American 15 year old girls and boys report having been drunk at least twice, which is the second lowest percentage of the countries polled. Countries with the highest rates of teen drunkenness include Denmark, where almost 60% admit to at least 2 incidents of drunkenness and the UK, where the number is just under 50%.
  • Although American teens drink and smoke less than contemporaries in the developed world, American teens are the most overweight and obese.

The total number of teens drinking and smoking across the 24 countries surveyed declined significantly between 1992 and 2005 (1992 was the data year of the previous OCED health indicator survey report)

Read the full OCED Health Report

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