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FOR RELEASE: January 17, 2008
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Oklahoma Youth Risk Behaviors Improve

Risky health behaviors in Oklahoma’s youth are decreasing in some key areas, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today. The OSDH released results from its 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and conducted statewide in 2007 by the Oklahoma State Department of Health in collaboration with the State Department of Education and local school districts.

The YRBS measures the prevalence of various self-reported risk-taking behaviors among high-school age adolescents to monitor those behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability and major social problems and increased health care costs among adolescents in the U.S.

In Oklahoma, the YRBS was administered in 2003, 2005, and again in the spring of 2007, when 2,612 students in 51 public high schools participated. State health officials noted these positive findings when reviewing the 2007 data with results from the 2005 survey:

The percentage of students who had ever tried smoking declined in 2007 from 2005. The 2007 results indicate 54.8 percent of students had ever tried smoking, compared to 2005 where 62.3 percent had ever tried smoking. The percentage of students who smoked on a daily basis was also down from 2005, 17.8 percent to 13.3 percent.
Also promising was a decrease in methamphetamine and marijuana use. Methamphetamine use was 5.5 percent in 2007, down from 7.1 percent in 2005. The percentage of students using marijuana on one or more times dropped from 39.3 percent in 2005 to 33.2 percent in 2007.

The percent of students participating in physical activity was up from 38.2 percent in 2005 to 49.6 percent in 2007. Students also spent less time watching television. In 2005, 38.8 percent of students reported watching television three or more hours a day, compared 33.3 percent in 2007.

Not all trends were positive. Oklahoma students who reported driving while they had been drinking alcohol was up from 12.3 percent in 2005 to 13.3 percent in 2007. The percentage of students reporting ever having sex increased to 50.9 percent in 2007, compared 49.3 percent in 2005. Students who chew spit tobacco rose from 11.0 percent in 2005 to 13.7 percent in 2007.

Data collected from the YRBS provides schools, communities and policymakers the opportunity to identify challenges, design interventions, develop new policies and implement programs that have the potential to positively impact adolescent health.

For additional information about the 2007 YRBS results, please contact Jim Marks at 405-271-4471, or via email at JamesMM@Health.Ok.Gov.


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