Oh, Give the Kids a Break Already

The CDC’s latest Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey is out, and as you already know, the kids are alright these days. But there’s always something, isn’t there? The Washington Post uses the CDC report as a hook to tell us that risky teen behavior is down across the board except for one thing: they aren’t eating their veggies:

Do kids ever get a break from our nation’s news media? Apparently not. The Post kinda sorta plays this for laughs, but they also take it seriously enough to lie with statistics, informing us that since 1999 there’s been a 71 percent increase in the share of kids who don’t eat vegetables.

This is technically true, but check out the scales on the Post’s charts. Most of them go from zero to about 40 percent—except for the veggie chart, which goes from zero to 5 percent. I have helpfully redrawn their graphic to put everything on approximately the same scale:

The veggie line has barely moved.  But I guess that doesn’t make for a very good story. The kids may be alright, but I sure have my doubts about the adults these days.

Anyway, while we’re on the subject I might as well point out that in addition to all the stuff the Post mentions, teen arrest rates are down, pregnancy rates are down, drunk driving is down, math and reading scores are up, graduation rates are up, and college attendance is up. Given all this, I recommend that we switch to a Logan’s Run sort of society except that instead of killing people at age 30 we just take away their right to vote.¹ Let’s give the vote to everyone aged 21-30 and see how they do. It can’t be an awful lot worse than what we have now.

¹But not to hold office. Only 20-somethings can vote, but they can vote for any old fogey they want to.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate