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For Release: June 3, 2010
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Some Risky Health Behaviors Improve Among Oklahoma Youth
Smoking, methamphetamine and marijuana use decrease. Physical activity increases.

Risky health behaviors in Oklahoma’s youth are decreasing in some key areas, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today. The OSDH released results from its 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), developed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and conducted statewide in 2009 by OSDH in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Department of Education and local school districts.

The YRBS measures 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, 2007, and again in the spring of 2009, when 1,413 students in 42 public high schools participated. State public health officials noted these positive findings when reviewing the 2009 data with results from the 2003 data:

  • The 2009 results indicate 48.8 percent of students had ever tried cigarette smoking, down from 64.1 percent in 2003.  The percentage of students who smoked a whole cigarette before the age of 13 decreased significantly from 23.7 percent in 2003 to 11.5 percent in 2009.  In addition, the percentage of students who smoked on a daily basis decreased from 17.5 percent in 2003 to 13.3 percent in 2009.
  • Also promising was a decrease in methamphetamine and marijuana use. The percentage of students who used methamphetamines one or more times during their life was 4.8 percent in 2009, down from 9.9 percent in 2003. The percentage of students who had used marijuana one or more times during their life decreased from 42.5 percent in 2003 to 31.9 percent in 2009.
  • The percent of students who were physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes per day on five or more of the seven days before the survey increased from 38.2 percent in 2005 to 47.4 percent in 2009. Students also spent less time watching television. In 2009, 29.0 percent of students reported watching television three or more hours a day, down from 36.7 percent in 2003.

Not all trends were positive. Negative findings included:

  • Among students who had sexual intercourse during the three months before the survey, 56.7 percent reported using a condom during last sexual intercourse, which was a decrease from 64.3 percent in 2003.
  • Regarding dietary behaviors, the percentage of students who ate a green salad one or more times during the seven days before the survey decreased from 66.4 percent in 2003 to 56.6 percent in 2009.

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 information about the 2009 YRBS results, visit http://mchs.health.ok.gov and click on “Oklahoma Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Results Overview 2009” under the “What’s New” section. For additional information, please contact Thad Burk at (405) 271-6761, or via email at thadb@health.ok.gov




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