- New Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results reveal that smoking rates among US high school students have dropped to 15.7 percent, the lowest level recorded since the student survey began in 1991.
- YRBS findings show significant declines in physical fighting [PDF-2MB] during the past 20 years; fighting on school property declined by half.
- You can use YRBS data to compare state, local, and national risk behavior rates and read fact sheets about alcohol use, drug use, obesity, sexual risk behaviors, and other youth health risk behaviors.
During the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents establish patterns of behavior and make lifestyle choices that affect both their current and future health. Serious health and safety issues such as motor vehicle crashes, violence, substance use, and risky sexual behaviors can adversely affect adolescent and young adults.
Some adolescents also struggle to adopt behaviors that could decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases in adulthood, such as eating nutritiously, engaging in physical activity, and choosing not to use tobacco.
Environmental factors such as family, peer group, school, and community characteristics also contribute to adolescents' health and risk behaviors.
Societal Influences on Adolescents and Young Adults
Young people's behaviors are influenced at the individual, peer, family, school, community, and societal levels. Because many sectors of society contribute to adolescent health, safety, and well-being, a collaborative effort that engages multiple partners is necessary. Such joint efforts can also help to promote a more comprehensive approach to addressing adolescent health—one that views each adolescent as a whole person, recognizing and drawing upon his or her assets and not just focusing on risks.
To have the most positive impact on adolescent health, government agencies, community organizations, schools, and other community members must work together in a comprehensive approach. Providing safe and nurturing environments for our nation’s youth can help ensure that adolescents will be healthy and productive members of society.