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What risky behaviors do teens engage in?

Providing assistance with the collection of data on adolescent health

Challenge

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to help identify risk behavior among youth to help guide efforts to reduce these behaviors and improve health outcomes of the nation’s adolescents and young adults.

Through cooperative agreements with the CDC, state, territorial, and local education and health agencies conduct school-based surveillance through implementation of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and School Health Profiles (Profiles). 

Solution

Westat provides technical assistance to more than 70 local, state, and tribal governments to conduct the surveys, including

  • Creating and disseminating handbooks and technical assistance materials with high-quality graphics to funded sites to help plan and conduct the surveys
  • Ensuring that the surveys use scientifically selected samples that represent the target populations
  • Reviewing questionnaires
  • Producing customized Profiles reports for funded sites

Results

State and local education and health agencies are using results from the YRBS to

  • Raise awareness of the kinds of risk behaviors in which adolescents engage
  • Develop programs that address health-risk behaviors
  • Guide school health education teacher training and instructional programs
  • Support health-related policies and legislation
  • Seek funding for school health programs

State and local education and health agencies are using results from the Profiles to 

  • Compare school health policies and practices across states, large urban school districts, and U.S. territories
  • Determine how well schools address the health and safety needs of their students
  • Develop and implement school health policies
  • Plan professional development for school staff
  • Identify what health education topics and skills are taught in schools

Insights

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