revious State of the State’s Health reports have documented the compound problem of skyrocketing health care costs and a declining health status. Again, reducing the prevalence of health risk behaviors in adolescence is one way we can significantly begin to turn this trend around. This in turn will reduce the burden on the health care system, both by a reduction in expenditures and by an increase in productive adult years, thereby improving our economy. If we want our future workforce to stay competitive with the rest of the nation, and the rest of the world, we must assure that children and adolescents are able to get the most from their educational opportunities by reducing the significant hindrance to learning that these health risks impose. Schools, though often linked with discussions of youth risk behaviors, are only one player in the process of improving youth risk behaviors. Indeed, the majority of the risk behaviors mentioned in this report do not occur at school. Schools cannot, and should not, be our only venue for health promotion efforts.
Finally, we must acknowledge that these health risk behaviors, and the underlying influences associated with them, are interconnected. If we are to adequately address teen pregnancy, substance abuse and violent behaviors, the shared issues of coping skills and positive peer influence must be improved. We cannot afford, either financially or practically, to tackle these one by one in a compartmentalized fashion. The individual risk behaviors we measure are but indicators of the shared root problems we want to solve.
Introduction | Youth Risk Behaviors | Positive Youth Development
Call To Action | Recommendations | Healthy People 2010 Objectives
Board Of Health | State of the State's Health | Oklahoma State Department of Health
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State of the State's Health Interim Report 2003