"These data are critical for understanding the health of Alaska's teens and how families, communities and health professionals can help them make healthier choices," said Dr. Jay Butler, Alaska's Chief Medical Officer. "Healthier youth will be healthier adults."
The survey asked students to report certain risky behaviors. Key findings are listed below.
Alcohol and drug use:
39.7 percent of high school students had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days
Compared to 38.7 percent in 2003 and 47.5 percent in 1995
20.5 percent of high school students reported using marijuana in the past 30 days
Compared to 23.9 percent in 2003 and 28.7 percent in 1995
25.1 percent of students were offered, sold or given an illegal drug by someone on school property during the past 12 months
Compared to 28.4 percent in 2003 and 34.1 percent in 1995.
Violence and suicide:
29.2 percent of high school students had been in a physical fight during the past year compared to 27.1 percent in 2003 and 35.8 percent in 1995.
12.4 percent had been physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year compared to 10.8 percent in 2003 (1995 numbers were not available).
10.7 percent reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months compared to 8.1 percent in 2003 and 9.4 percent in 1995.
Other behaviors that increase the risk of health problems:
45.1 percent of high school students have had sexual intercourse compared to 39.6 percent in 2003 and 47.2 percent in 1995
17.8 percent of high school students smoked in the past 30 days Compared to 19.2 percent in 2003 and 36.5 percent in 1995
27.3 percent were overweight or at risk of being overweight compared to 25.4 percent in 2003 (1995 numbers were not available).
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is part of a national surveillance system developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess and address health risks among high school students.
The survey is conducted in Alaska every other year through the cooperation of the state Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education and Early Development and public high schools statewide.