CDC Releases 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Data

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) survey report.

The YRBSS monitors six health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth. The 2013 school-based surveys were conducted by CDC, state, territory, and local education and health agencies. The results are representative of high school and middle school students in public and private schools in the United States.

“The survey is an important tool for understanding how health risk behaviors among youth vary across the nation and over time,” said Laura Kann, Ph.D., chief of the division’s School-Based Surveillance Branch. “These data can help schools, communities, families, and students reduce youth risk behaviors that are still prevalent and to monitor newly emerging behaviors.”

Current cigarette smoking among U.S. High school students lowest in 22 years

Key findings from the 2013 survey include the following:

  • Cigarette smoking rates among high school students have dropped to 15.7 percent, meeting the Healthy People 2020 objective of reducing adolescent cigarette use to 16 percent or less. Learn more about youth substance use.
  • The percentage of high school students nationwide who had been in a physical fight at least once during the past 12 months decreased from 42 percent in 1991 to 25 percent in 2013.Learn more about youth violence and school climate.Significant declines during the past 20 years in physical fighting among U.S. high school students
  • Nationwide, 41 percent of students who had driven a car or other vehicle during the past 30 days reported texting or emailing while driving. Learn more about teen driver safety.
  • The percentage of high school students who are currently sexually active has declined from 38 percent in 1991 to 34 percent in 2013.
  • Among sexually active high school students, condom use has declined from 63 percent in 2003 to 59 percent in 2013. Learn more about teen pregnancy prevention.
  • The percentage of high school students using a computer three or more hours per day for non-school related work nearly doubled from 22 to 41 percent from 2003−2013.

The survey analyzes urban and statewide trends for participating states, showing significant differences in risk behavior. National trends in youth risk behaviors are also available regarding alcohol use, illegal drug use, and sexual, suicide-related, injury-related, and violence-related behaviors, among other topics, from 1991 through 2013.

Additional 2013 YRBSS Resources: