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FOR RELEASE: May 9 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

New Study Shows Some Adolescent Health Behaviors Are Improving

Oklahoma’s adolescents are making some improvements in their health risk behaviors according to data released today by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The state health department announced data results from Oklahoma’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and conducted statewide in 2005 by the Oklahoma State Department of Health in collaboration with the State Department of Education and local school districts.

The survey measured the prevalence of various self-reported risk-taking behaviors among high-school age adolescents. This is the second survey of its type conducted in Oklahoma; the first was completed in 2003. Survey results are considered to be sufficient to be applied to the entire Oklahoma public high school population. CDC will release national 2005 survey data compiled from all participating states later this year.

“The Youth Risk Behavior Survey provides important information for parents, educators, health care professionals, church and civic leaders and all other concerned Oklahomans who are interested in preventing those high-risk behaviors that limit learning in school,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher. “These data provide a snapshot of the health behaviors of our high-school age youth that we can use to reinforce positive behaviors, help students make smart choices, and support learning and success in school.”

When reviewing Oklahoma’s 2005 state youth risk behavior data with data from the 2003 survey, state health officials noted some improvements in health behaviors, including a decrease in the use of alcohol and the sale of illegal drugs on campus.

Little variance was seen in emotional health issues, tobacco use, and sexual activity from the 2003 survey. Of concern was the lack of improvement in the number of students who are overweight. The overall percentage of students in 2005 who were overweight exceeded those identified in the 2003 survey.

The following is a summary of the comparison of findings of the 2003 and 2005 surveys:

  • Alcohol use decreased on many levels from 2003 to 2005. The percentage of students who reported that they drove a car or other vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol one or more times during the past 30 days decreased from 17.5% in 2003 to 12.3% in 2005. The percentage of students who had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more of the past 30 days decreased from 47.8% in 2003 to 40.5 in 2005. Students also reported less binge drinking, or drinking five or more drinks of alcohol in a row within a couple of hours, on one or more of the past 30 days, decreasing this kind of drinking from 34% in 2003 to 26.6% in 2005.
  • The sale of illegal drugs on campus decreased from 2003 to 2005. The percentage of students who were offered, sold, or given an illegal drug on school property by someone during the past 12 months decreased from 22.2% in 2003 to 18.4% in 2005.
  • Other drug use varied. The percentage of students that sniffed glue, breathed the contents of aerosol spray cans, or inhaled any paints or sprays to get high one or more times during their life increased from 9.9% in 2003 to 12% in 2005, while the percentage of students that used methamphetamines one or more times during their life decreased from 9.9% in 2003 to 7.1% in 2005.
  • The percentage of students who reported they were overweight increased from 2003 to 2005. The overall percentage of students who were overweight increased from 11.1% to 15.2%. Female students who were overweight doubled from 6.1% in 2003 to 12.1% in 2005. The overall percentage of students who had not participated in any vigorous or moderate physical activity during the past 7 days increased from 8.3% in 2003 to 12.3% in 2005.
  • The emotional health of students stayed at “about the same” from 2003 to 2005. The percentage of students who felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities during the past 12 months stayed about the same at 27.1% in 2003 and 27.9% in 2005. In addition, the percentage of students who seriously considered attempting suicide during the past 12 months stayed the same at 15.4% in 2003 and 2005.
  • Tobacco use among students did not differ substantially from 2003 to 2005. Those students who ever tried smoking, stayed about the same at 64.1% in 2003 and 62.3% in 2005. The percentage of students who are current smokers who tried to quit during the past 12 months increased slightly from 54.8% in 2003 to 58.4% in 2005.
  • Sexual activity stayed at “about the same” from 2003 to 2005. The percentage of students who ever had sexual intercourse stayed about the same at 50% in 2003 and 49.3% in 2005. However, the percentage of female students who had sexual intercourse the first time before age 13 increased from 2.3% in 2003 to 4% in 2005.

For more information about Oklahoma’s 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, call 405/271-4471.

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