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Informed Alaskans

AK-IBIS Health Data

InstantAtlas Health Profiles

Surveillance Data Sets:

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Student Weight Status Surveillance System

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

  1. Behavioral Health Systems Regions
  2. School Districts

Reportable Conditions:

    Informed Alaskans

    Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) Health Profiles

    YRBSS Background

    The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is part of an epidemiological surveillance system that was established in 1990 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The purpose of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is to help monitor the prevalence of behaviors that put Alaskan youth at risk for the most significant health and social problems that can occur during adolescence and adulthood, in order to assist in prevention and intervention planning and evaluation. The YRBS survey is a school-based survey of high school students conducted in odd-numbered years administered in cooperation with the Department of Health and Social Services.

    The YRBS has been administered in Alaska in years 1995, 1999 (excluding Anchorage), and biennially in odd-number years since 2003. Weighted (representative) data were collected in 1995, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 resulting in statewide data reports.


    The CDC statewide traditional sample (based on random selection) is weighted at 60% while the statewide alternative school sample (based on census selection) is weighted at 50%. All local samples are weighted at the 50% response level. Local samples for Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Matsu are based on random selection while all other local samples are based on census. Weights are assigned by post-stratification based upon the number of surveys by sex within grade within a school relative to the official October enrollments. If the school sample results in very high weights due to low participation within a gender or grade level, weights may be assigned based upon district enrollments for all participating schools. When a school (or district) has a participation rate of less than 50%, all of the surveys receive a weight of 1 in order to indicate that the responses are not generalizable to other students.

    Data Suppression and Statistical Unreliability

    YRBSS data suppression rules require at least 100 respondents within the area and time period. To provide the greatest access to health information, a note of the possible statistical unreliability of the data appears in the “Alert” column of the presentations along with the prevalence. Three data quality criteria are used in evaluating the YRBSS prevalence estimates which are based upon the Joint Policy on Variance Estimation and Statistical Reporting Standards on NHANES III and CSFII Reports: HNIS/NCHS Analytic Working Group Recommendations:

    1. Inadequate sample size for normal approximation. For means and proportions based on commonly occurring events (where 0.25 < P < 0.75), an estimate is flagged if it is based on a cell size of less than 30 times a "broadly calculated average design effect."
    2. Large coefficient of variation. Estimates are flagged if the coefficient of variation (ratio of the standard error to the mean expressed as a percent) is greater than 30.
    3. Inadequate sample size for uncommon or very common events. For proportions below 0.25 or above 0.75, the criteria for statistical reliability is that the cell size be sufficiently large that the minimum of nP and n(1-P) be greater than or equal to 8 times a broadly calculated average design effect, where n is the cell size and P is the estimated proportion. (I.e., an estimate is flagged when n<8 * (avg. design effect)/min(P,1-P)).) The coefficient of variation is not used in these cases.

    The end user can take these reliability alerts into consideration when using the data.

    Geographic Systems

    The Alaska YRBSS health data have been summarized using two geographic systems with differing levels of specificity: 10 Behavioral Health Systems Regions and the 55 School Districts.

    YRBSS Themes and Indicators

    This anonymous survey examines a minimum of six categories of adolescent behavior:

    • behaviors that result in unintentional and intentional injuries
    • tobacco use
    • alcohol and other drug use
    • sexual behaviors that can result in HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) and unintended pregnancies
    • dietary behaviors
    • physical activity

    The Alaska YRBS also asks students about other influences on their health, such as:

    • school activities, volunteerism, and parent and community support; and
    • how they perceive risk and approval of tobacco, alcohol or marijuana use.

    Display Options

    The Health Profile Maps will be available in the following templates: a Single Map template with an emphasis on the geographical dispersion of risk factors in a visual layout and a tabular alternative is available in the web-accessible HTML Profile template which provides access to the same health data in a format that can be used by assistive devices. A general User Guide and resource-specific Help Menu explain the features and capabilities of each template.