LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 22 (PNA) – The Bicol Region, composed of six provinces, has the fifth highest proportion of studying youth at 39.4 percent of 19,178 interviewed respondents, according to the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study conducted by Dr. Nimfa B. Ogena and Dr. Arnisson Andre Ortega.
The interviewed 19,178 young people represented all sectors -- including males and females, single and married, and the Muslim youth.
The findings showed that most of the youth have at least some high school education, 17 percent of them have no schooling or, at most, an elementary education while only 17 percent have college or higher education.
Twenty-three percent of the 19,178 youth respondents in the region work while 6.5 percent are unemployed and 4.7 percent are studying and working at the same time while 2.4 percent of young Bicolanos are idle -- the second lowest in the country.
The study also reveals that there are more youth who are in a live-in arrangement (13.6 percent) than in a formal union (6.9 percent) -- a pattern consistent with the national figure.
Region V youth are digitally wired -- that is, 72.5 percent own a cellular phone and 40.1 percent of them use the internet, 35.6 percent own an email account and 36.3 percent have a social networking account.
On health and lifestyle, the study shows that in the Bicol Region more than 2 in 5 (44.5 percent) youth exercise at least two to three times a week which is below the national level.
Young Bicolanos are consumers of unhealthy foods and drinks.
There were 33.5 percent of respondents who eat hamburger at least once a week, the lowest in the country, 40.9 percent eat fried chicken at least once a week; 43.9 percent consume fried street food at least once a week, 45.6 percent eat grilled street food at least once a week and 45.5 percent consume instant noodles at least once a week -- the lowest in the country. However, 47.1 percent drink carbonated drinks at least once a week, the lowest in the country; and 65.8 percent drink coffee/tea at least once a week.
It was noted that 47.1 percent of the respondents drink carbonated drinks at least once a week, the lowest in the country, and 65.8 percent drink coffee/tea at least once a week.
Non-sexual risk behavior, findings showed Bicol region has the fifth highest proportion of youth who are currently smoking (19.3 percent).
The percentage of youth who are currently drinking alcoholic beverages (33 percent) is below the national average, the study said.
Nearly 3 in 100 youth have used drugs, which exhibit a sharp decline compared to 2002 level and it is below the national average.
Between 2002 and 2013, the region’s proportion of youth who ever thought of committing suicide decreased following the national pattern.
Still, nearly eight in 100 youth in the region have ever contemplated suicide. However, the percentage who attempted suicide has risen from 2.3 percent in 2002 to 3.7 percent in 2013, contradicting the national trajectory. The study added that considerable proportions of Region V youth have experienced physical violence, both as aggressors (16.5 percent) and as victims (20 percent) and 5.6 percent of the region’s youth have experienced harassment using technology.
On sexual risk behavior of Bicolano youth, the study revealed that more than one in three youth have sexual experience, the third lowest in the Philippines. Bicolano youth engage in sex at young ages and the mean age at first sex is 17.5 years for males and 18.3 years for females.
About 1.9 percent of young males and 1.2 percent of young females had sex before age 15 and 21.1 percent of young males and 18.4 percent of young females had sex before age 18.