Teen Risk Behaviors

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Several North Dakota Teen Risk Behaviors Lower than National Average
In-school bullying higher than other US high schools

BISMARCK, N.D., July 7, 2016
– On June 9th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the national results for the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).  This report allows for comparison of ND high school data to that of the rest of the nation’s high schools.  ND teens are following the same national trend with smoking substantially less tobacco, as reported last November.  Also, North Dakota teens use less alcohol, misuse less prescription drugs and “vape” less e-cigarettes than their national peers.
The 2015 national results also showed that ND teen access to alcohol and illicit drugs was lower than the national average; however, underage ND teens are getting their cigarettes more easily through stores or gas stations than their national peers.

ND YRBS Trend Results Grades 9-12
NDvsNational YRBS Access Results Grades 9-12

ND vs National Suicide YRBS Results
As compared to national results, ND teens experience less depression, display less suicide-related behaviors, and have not attempted suicide as much as 2013.  However, one in four ND teens is bullied on school property, as compared to one in five teens nationally.  This data supports continued efforts in transforming school climate and culture throughout our North Dakota public high school system.
The 2015 The national report shows that ND teens possess better healthy lifestyle habits than their national peers:
  • more physically active, play less video or computer games, and watch less television
  • eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more milk and eat breakfast more regularly.
However, ND teens were higher than the national average for the following youth risk behaviors:
  • never or rarely wore a seatbelt (9% ND, 6% nationally)
  • texting while driving (58% ND, 42% nationally)
  • currently use smokeless tobacco (11% ND, 7% nationally)
National, state, and local YRBS studies are conducted in odd years among high school students (Grades 9-12) throughout the United States.  These surveys monitor health risk behaviors including unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco, alcohol, and other illicit drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. CDC no longer identifies states in ranking order in specific risk behaviors, but rather shows whether a state is higher or lower than the national average.
North Dakota youth began participating in the YRBS survey in 1995, providing longitudinal data for many youth risk behaviors. The survey monitors priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. The YRBS is designed to monitor trends and compare state health risk behaviors to national health risk behaviors. The YRBS historically has been an invaluable tool for use in planning, evaluating and improving school and community programs.
The 2015 report includes national data from surveys conducted in 37 states and 19 large urban school districts.  In the spring of 2015, 10,325 North Dakota students in grades 9-12 completed the voluntary and anonymous survey, allowing for the reporting of weighted data.  The weighted data results can be used to make important inferences about all North Dakota students due to the random research-based selection process that is used.  In addition, the weighted data allows ND high schools to use their local results for reporting measures within their school plans (AdvancED, ESSA, etc.).
The complete 2015 YRBS results can be accessed at Youth Online. For additional questions, contact Trish Arnold, Assistant Director, Safe and Healthy Schools, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, at 701.328.2265.
Dale E. Wetzel
Public Information Specialist
10th Floor
State Capitol
Office Phone: 701-328-2247
Cell Phone: 701-400-8557