Teen risky behaviors up and down

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 10, 2006

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High school students are drinking, smoking and having sex less frequently than they were 15 years ago, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fewer are also carrying weapons.

In this latest study, 43% of the 14,000 high school students surveyed said they were using alcohol, compared with 51% in the 1991 survey.

But there were some upward trends. Marijuana and cocaine use had increased compared with 1991.

There were racial and ethnic differences, with black students more likely to have engaged in sexual activity and white students admitting frequent cigarette use and episodic heavy drinking. Hispanic students reported more frequent suicide attempts and more use of some drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.

The 2005 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey also found that safety belt use has improved, with only 10% of those surveyed reporting that they never buckled up.

In 2003, 18% said they never used a seat belt, and in 1991 26% went beltless.

Black students also were the most likely to report such sedentary behaviors as watching television for three or more hours per day.

National, state and local student surveys are conducted every two years and monitor health risk behaviors that lead to unintentional injuries and violence.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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