Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2009


U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Nearly three-quarters of American students – 72.5 percent – have drunk alcohol by the end of 12th grade, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Within the same time frame, 31.5 percent of surveyed youths reported having been in a physical fight, 7.4 percent were forced to have sexual intercourse, and 20.2 percent had taken drugs such as Vicodin, Adderall or Percocet without a prescription.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance system assesses such risky behaviors of young adults in six categories: injuries and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors and physical activity that put them most at risk for injury or death. This report displays the findings of the survey, which was completed by high school students in 42 states.

The prevalence of some behaviors differed significantly among certain subpopulations of high school students. White youths were most likely to be bullied on school property, for example, while Hispanic students were most likely to have attempted suicide, and male students were more likely than females to smoke cigarettes regularly.

The incidence of these behaviors has decreased since the early 1990s, the authors note.

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