The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was developed in 1990 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor 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 was designed to monitor trends, compare state health risk behaviors to national health risk behaviors and intended for use to plan, evaluate and improve school and community programs. North Dakota began participating in the YRBS survey in 1995. Students in grades, 7-8 & 9-12 are surveyed in the spring of odd years. The survey is voluntary and completely anonymous.
North Dakota has two survey groups, selected and voluntary. The selected school survey population is chosen using a scientific sampling procedure which ensures that the results can be generalized to the state’s entire student population. The schools that are part of the voluntary sample, selected without scientific sampling procedures, will only be able to obtain information on the risk behavior percentages for their school and not in comparison to all the schools.
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction encourages all schools interested in participating in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to let the department know. This can be done by contacting the Safe and Healthy Schools Unit at (701) 328-2753.
The YRBS monitors risk behaviors that are often established during childhood and early adolescence and result in unintentional and intentional injuries. The risk categories monitored through the survey include: Tobacco Use, Unhealthy Dietary Behaviors, Physical Inactivity, Alcohol & Other Drug Use, Sexual Behavior/STD’s/HIV/AIDS/Unintended Pregnancies and Violence/Injury.