Despite Improvements, Many High School Students Still Engaging in Risky Health Behaviors

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Although significant improvements have occurred over the past decade in various health-related behaviors among high school students, many high school students continue to engage in a variety of behaviors that put them at risk for injury and disease, according to the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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"Too many young people still engage in activities that place them at risk for serious injury, sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV infection, and chronic disease such as heart disease and cancer. We need to continue to provide them with the information and skills that can help them make the right choices today so that they can live a long and healthy life," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding.

However, during the past 12 years, the YRBSS has detected improvements in risk behaviors related to sexual activity, injuries and violence, and tobacco and alcohol use.

For example, the percentage of high school students who reported ever having sexual intercourse was 47 percent in 2003 compared to 54 percent in 1991. There was also a decrease in the number of high school students who reported having had four or more sex partners

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