Results of the 2015 Hawai‘i Public High School State and Counties Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) and Cross-Year Comparisons
From HawaiiHealthMatters.org June 9, 2016
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a module of the Hawai‘i School Health Survey administered in odd-numbered years to Hawai‘i public school students in grades 6–12. In this report, the term “public school” does not include charter or special public schools. The YRBS is part of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1990 to monitor priority health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among youth and young adults: a) behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; b) tobacco use; c) alcohol and other drug use; d) sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection; e) unhealthy dietary behaviors; and f) inadequate physical activity. In addition, YRBSS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma. Items of local interest were added to the Hawai‘i surveys, including mentor-like relationships, medical checkups, oral health, and bicycle riding to and from school.
Results from the spring 2015 Hawai‘i YRBS indicate that although the prevalence of some health-risk behaviors has decreased since 2013 or since the behavior was first monitored, many high school students are engaged in risky health behaviors associated with the leading causes of death among persons aged 10–24 years in the United States. For 12 of the 16 behaviors with statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between 2013 and 2015, statewide Hawai‘i public high school students were more likely to report engaging in risky behaviors in 2015 than in 2013. However, a trend analysis (p < 0.05) from the time the behavior was first monitored showed less risk in 2015 for 33 behaviors and greater risk for 12 behaviors.
The YRBS provides a source of high quality data for monitoring health-risk behaviors. Many of the behaviors have been tracked at the state level since 1993 and at the county level since 2011. The availability of this third set of county-level data allows potential issues to be examined by communities. Results of the 2015 Hawai‘i public middle school YRBS and the 2015 national YRBS should be available in summer 2016. A separate report will be produced to include these results.
YRBS data are widely used to compare the prevalence of health-risk behaviors among subpopulations of students, assess trends in health-risk behaviors over time, and monitor progress toward achieving the national health objectives of Healthy People 2020 as well as state and local objectives. Comparable state and county data that will help users develop and evaluate school and community policies, programs, and practices designed to decrease health-risk behaviors and improve health outcomes among youth are now available. Reliable population-based data on these behaviors at the national, state, and county levels are needed on an ongoing basis to most effectively monitor and ensure the effectiveness of public health interventions designed to protect and promote the health of youth nationwide.
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