Skip to content
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 19, 2007

Contact:
Greg Wilkinson, Department of Health & Social Services, (907) 269-7285, Cell (907) 382-7032
Ann Potempa, Department of Health & Social Services, (907) 269-7957, Cell (907) 240-9158
Eric Fry, Department of Education & Early Development, (907) 465-2851

State health officials release results from 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Alaska’s youth face risks from alcohol use, violence, sexual activity and other behaviors

(Anchorage, AK)— The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, published results from its Youth Risk Behavior Survey today. In spring 2007, the department surveyed 1,318 students from 38 high schools that were scientifically selected to represent all high schools in Alaska, said Patricia Owen, state coordinator for the survey. The results of the anonymous survey are posted online at http://hss.state.ak.us/dph/chronic/school/yrbsresults.htm .

“These data are critical for understanding the health of Alaska’s teens and how families, communities and health professionals can help them make healthier choices,” said Dr. Jay Butler, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer. “Healthier youth will be healthier adults.”

The survey asked students to report certain risky behaviors. Key findings are listed below.

Alcohol and drug use:

  • 39.7 percent of high school students had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days;
    • Compared to 38.7 percent in 2003 and 47.5 percent in 1995;
  • 20.5 percent of high school students reported using marijuana in the past 30 days;
    • Compared to 23.9 percent in 2003 and 28.7 percent in 1995; and
  • 25.1 percent of students were offered, sold or given an illegal drug by someone on school property during the past 12 months;
    • Compared to 28.4 percent in 2003 and 34.1 percent in 1995.

Violence and suicide:

  • 29.2 percent of high school students had been in a physical fight during the past year;
    • Compared to 27.1 percent in 2003 and 35.8 percent in 1995;
  • 12.4 percent had been physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year;
    • Compared to 10.8 percent in 2003 (1995 numbers were not available);and
  • 10.7 percent reported attempting suicide in the past 12 months;
    • Compared to 8.1 percent in 2003 and 9.4 percent in 1995.

Other behaviors that increase the risk of health problems:

  • 45.1 percent of high school students have had sexual intercourse;
    • Compared to 39.6 percent in 2003 and 47.2 percent in 1995;
  • 17.8 percent of high school students smoked in the past 30 days;
    • Compared to 19.2 percent in 2003 and 36.5 percent in 1995; and
  • 27.3 percent were overweight or at risk of being overweight;
    • Compared to 25.4 percent in 2003 (1995 numbers were not available).

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is part of a national surveillance system developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess and address health risks among high school students. The survey is conducted in Alaska every other year through the cooperation of the state Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education and Early Development and public high schools statewide.

# # #