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Introduction to 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Summary Report

Introduction

1999 Report Introduction (pdf)

ABOUT THIS REPORT

The 1999 Oregon Youth Risk Behavior Survey High School Summary Report summarizes the answers Oregon public high school students gave about health related behaviors. The multiple choice Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) questionnaire was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is conducted every two years to produce data representative of students in grades 9 through 12 in randomly selected schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey has been given in selected Oregon public schools every other year since 1991.

Participation in the 1999 survey was entirely voluntary at three different levels. First, all public school districts were invited to participate and to receive their own site-specific data (site-specific data were returned to the schools in a manner that protected the anonymity of the participants). Second, parental notification forms were used so that parents could contact the individual schools if they did not wish their child or children to participate. And third, each student could decline to take the survey or skip any or all questions on it. From January to June 1999, questionnaires were completed by 9 th through 12 th grade students from 111 participating Oregon public schools. A total of 22,913 usable surveys were received from 109 schools (see the Methodology section for details of participation).

The survey contained questions relating to priority health risks that result in the most significant causes of death and disability among Oregon high school students; including:

  1. Behaviors that result in intentional and un-intentional injury
  2. Harassment and unwanted sexual contact
  3. Tobacco use
  4. Alcohol and other drug use
  5. Sexual activity, pregnancy and STD risks
  6. Body image and dietary behaviors
  7. Exercise and other activities
  8. Access to health care

This report is written for concerned educators, policy makers, parents, and youth. This summary includes brief overviews of:

  1. Methodology
  2. Key findings
  3. Survey questions
  4. Students' answers
  5. Students' comments
  6. Data trends

The survey is done in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Education. Your questions, concerns, and comments are invited. For more information contact: Oregon Department of Human Services Health Services Center for Health Statistics, Suite 225 800 NE Oregon Street Portland, OR 97232 Oregon Department of Education Office of Student Services 255 Capitol Street NE Salem, OR 97310 (503) 378-3569.1999 Oregon Youth Risk Behavior Survey Summary Report

WHY OREGON CONDUCTED THE YRBS

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey helps Oregonians identify high school students' current health and safety habits so that improvements can be made where needed. Establishing healthy lifestyles for Oregon youth leads to improved learning in the classroom and longer, more productive lives for Oregon's population. People develop behavior patterns in their childhood and teen years which can either strengthen or threaten their quality and length of life. Currently, many adolescents in Oregon use tobacco and other drugs, eat too few fruits and vegetables, fail to exercise regularly, or take part in other risky behaviors. In many cases, students can improve their health by changing their everyday activities based on a knowledge of health promotion and disease and injury prevention. Parents, school staff members, and community groups can help students make the behavior changes necessary to improving their health by developing and supporting activities and environments that encourage healthy behaviors.

The results of this survey are used by schools, school districts, state and local agencies, and other local organizations to identify health risks to teens and plan ways to help prevent risky behavior. Schools can improve the health of their student bodies by promoting programs to equip students with health knowledge, including physical education classes, health and nutrition courses, and safety training. Many Oregon counties and local communities have community health assessments which focus on youth interventions. The YRBS can provide a wealth of data for local school and community assessment.

Survey findings serve as a valuable tool for legislators and other policy makers as they make decisions about health related policies, services, programs, and educational activities. The YRBS data can be used to develop laws to prevent injuries and unnecessary deaths as well as identify health priorities for fiscal resource allocation. These data improve the ability to procure health-related funding by providing the baseline data that is required for grant writing, as well as serving as an ongoing source for measuring objectives and progress. YRBS data is used to help evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of projects and programs that promote healthy adolescence in Oregon. These data are also used to report state and national leading health indicators included in the Oregon Benchmarks and Healthy People 2010.