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Annual Teen Risk Survey Reveals Mixed Bag of Results

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, June 16, 2014

Annual Teen Risk Survey Reveals Mixed Bag of Results

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the results of its annual National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). For the report, 13,000 U.S. High School students were surveyed in the spring of 2013. The survey has been taken annually since 1991 and provides data regarding teen behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.

The 2014 report is a mixed bag of results, finding U.S. teens are smoking cigarettes less, fighting less, engaging in sex less, but that teens continue to put themselves at risk by using technology while driving, are using condoms less often, using hookah and e-cigarettes more often, and more kids are engaged in obesity-related behaviors, such as spending three hours or more per day using a computer.

Among the specific findings were:

• Only 15.7% of teens surveyed had smoked cigarettes on at least one day during the 30 days before the survey. This percentage represents the lowest rate recorded by the YRBS.

• The percentage of students involved in a physical fight at least once in the 12 months before the survey decreased from 42% in 1991 to 25% in 2013.

• Nationwide, 41% of teens who had driven a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days prior to the survey reported texting or emailing while driving.

• The percentage of high school students who are currently sexually active (sexual intercourse during the three months before the survey) has declined from 38% in 1991 to 34% in 2013.

• The percentage of students having had sexual intercourse was 46.8%, down from 54.1% in 1991.

• Nationwide, 66.2% of students had drank alcohol at least once in their lifetime, down from 81.6% in 1991.

• 34.9% of students drank at least one alcohol drink during the 30 days before the survey, down from 50.8% in 1991.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention