Since our inception, GENYOUth has worked to put students at the center of the conversation in helping to create and define their own healthy, high-achieving futures. That said, while we talk to and learn from students all of the time, we’ve never before gone to them to gather insights in an official capacity…until now.
In partnership with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, GENYOUth set forth to develop a Youth Survey, which would help us to better understand the needs, desires and trends around health and wellness of the millions of students we serve through our programs..
Alexis Glick speaks with Ergotron’s Bob Hill
Made possible through the support of Domino’s, Ergotron, Inmar, and WorkForce Software, as well as the expert research muscle of Edelman Intelligence, the Inaugural Youth Survey looked at the role that technology plays in supporting students’ health and wellness. In particular, we wanted to know how various forms of technology are applied to influence the health and wellness behavior of students. What works and what doesn’t and what opportunities exist to improve on what’s out there with the goal of supporting more students engaging in healthy behaviors?
A total of 1,851 students took part in the survey. They ranged in age from 10-18 and 1,350 participate in GENYOUth programs, Fuel Up to Play 60 or AdVenture Capital, with an additional 501 in a control group.
David Bersoff from Edelman Intelligence addresses attendees
of GENYOUth’s inaugural Youth Survey release at the National Press Club
We’re thrilled to share the report out of the first Youth Survey. To give you a window into what we learned, here’s our top ten takeaways - insights and opportunities. You can also read the Thrive Global piece on the Youth Survey here.
1. Only 1 out of 10 youth feel they are too young to take care of their health and that it matters to their future.
We might think young people don’t recognize long-term benefits or repercussions of their actions, but they do. Middle school students have an especially strong sense of responsibility for their health and wellness now and in the future.
2. It’s hard to be a kid today. Of those surveyed 45% don’t get enough sleep and 42% feel stressed out a lot of the time. Being less fit could come from stress and lack of sleep and young people are looking for solutions that will help them manage and reduce their stress levels.
Expert Insight: “This survey underscores the importance of low level activity in the classroom. We need to break up the sedentary behavior because our bodies are meant to move. Sitting is learned.” - Bob Hill, Ergotron
3. Despite craving solutions to ease the stress of being a kid, only 1 in 10 young people in our survey feel they are using technology effectively for their health & wellness goals.
There’s a big gap between a desire to take control of one’s health, and the understanding of how to do that.
4. Generation Z seems to possess an almost universal fluency for technology and social media. 65% of these digital natives surveyed use technology for entertainment. And while 53% are interested in using technology to help them be healthy, only 29% are actually using it for health.
There's pent up demand in the marketplace for technology solutions that support students' desire to manage their health but they don't exist and even the most technically adept kids have not figured out the health and wellness piece. Their interest and desire outpaces their ability.
Expert insight: “Everybody wants those (social media) likes. It’s a priority to kids. Changing that priority would be good” – Brody, Fuel Up to Play 60 student
5. Why are fewer than a third of students we surveyed using technology to improve their health? Because they feel like it’s not created with their voice.
Companies have a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with students to better understand their needs, goals and interests.
Expert insight: “Most companies and marketers forget that you have to market with and not to the audience you’re trying to reach.” - Holly Pavlika, Inmar
Expert insight: “Reimbursements in the workforce cater to older generations – there’s no reimbursement for doing yoga on an app.” – Denise Broady, WorkForce Software
6. The most popular place for young people to get health information through technology is YouTube.
Young people find youth voices they connect with on YouTube who share common interests, needs and challenges. But this isn’t the most trusted source of information around health.
7. Nor does it help educate young people or teach them how to apply skills effectively in the workforce.
An expert Snap Chatter and Instagramer does not a work force ready person make, and companies will also need to play a vital role in developing tools that help educate young people on the differences between how they consume technology and how it’s used in the workplace.
8. Competition works. 41% of students and 58% of GENYOUth program participants surveyed consider themselves to be competitive and will do what it takes to win.
In a world that is digitized and gamified, young people are ready to play because competition could make the experience of getting healthy more interesting and visceral.
Expert insight: “We all like milestones.” Holly Pavlika, Inmar
9. Adults can also help to unleash the potential and full power of students. 60% of young people gather their health information from their families and 69% from their doctor.
Relationships matter, and adults can be champions and validators of healthy, positive behaviors. Fuel Up to Play 60 is so successful because of adult mentors that encourage students.
Expert insight: “You want it to be a shared adventure. Students say I want more feedback. I want more input into my own health and I want people to help me get there.” - Dr. Robert Murray, Professor of Pediatrics and Human Nutrition
10. Students also have a big opportunity to be more vocal in their demands and shout a little louder about what they want.
We know that when students exercise their influence change can happen. Students in GENYOUTH programs (FUTP 60, AdCap) are more health conscious and more interested in technology to support their wellbeing than are control group students in our survey. They’re also more likely to say their school is a healthy place. And when they’re empowered, they feel more in control of their health.
Expert insight: “Allowing them to see their influence, voice and people like them have to be rules of thumb.” – David Bersoff, Ph.D., Edelman Intelligence
Denise Broady, WorkForce Software, Brody, Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador,
and Alexis Glick, GENYOUth post at the National Press Club