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Press Release

2015 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results Released from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Contact:
Jake Leon
Director of Communications
603-271-9290
jake.leon@dhhs.state.nh.us

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Publish Date:
January 4, 2016

Concord, NH – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released results of the 2015 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to the State of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016. The 2015 YRBS was administered by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Education (DOE) to 14,837 students in 67 public high schools in New Hampshire during the spring of 2015. New Hampshire residents will be able to access regional results, in addition to State-level results, for the first time since testing began in 1991.

"The data collected in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey has always been an invaluable resource used by public schools to set and monitor program goals, develop health education programs, and seek funding for programs that focus on reducing health risk behavior among youth," said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of the DHHS Division Public Health Services.

All students at participating high schools voluntarily completed a self-administered questionnaire about their health behavior during one class period. Survey procedures were designed to strictly protect the privacy of students and adhered to local parental permission procedures. This survey is conducted annually with partial funding from the CDC.

"We find the YRBS results to be a great tool for identifying problem areas," said Dr. Middleton K. McGoodwin, the Superintendent of Schools for Claremont, Cornish, and Unity. "Survey results from the 2013 YRBS prompted us to organize a Youth Risk Behavior Study Committee. Comprised of interested Claremont School District staff, parents/guardians, local agencies, and citizens, the Committee has been active since November and plans to bring its work to the Claremont School Board for discussion later in the spring."

Key findings from the 2015 survey reveal a number of encouraging trends. Seat belt and bicycle helmet usage have increased over the past decade. Rates in the use of tobacco, illegal prescription drugs, and alcohol have significantly decreased. However, a new question included in the survey revealed that 25% of students reported using electronic vapor products. Alarming trends continue in areas of texting and driving and heroin use. The number of student's texting and driving continues to hover at 44% since the question was first asked in 2013. There has been no statistically significant change in the lifetime rate of heroin use reported by students during the past 5 years, which indicates a need for more focused work and attention to address the opioid crisis in New Hampshire. In response to the crisis, the State created the Anyone. Anytime. Campaign to educate, inform, and empower New Hampshire citizens about what they can do to address this serious issue.

"We know there is a correlation between youth misuse of alcohol and drugs and poor academic performance, behavioral problems, the progression to addiction and other risky behaviors," said Joe Harding, Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services at DHHS. "Effective prevention programming considers these issues in the context of home, school and community. Substance misuse coordinators at the 13 Regional Public Health Networks can assist community leaders and groups in the use of this data to inform local policies, programs and services and their effectiveness over time."

The survey is one component of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) developed by the CDC. This system was developed in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults. These are often established during childhood and early adolescence and include: (1) behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; (2) sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection; (3) alcohol and other drug use; (4) tobacco use; (5) unhealthy dietary behaviors; and (6) inadequate physical activity.

To view the State-level findings of the report, go to education.nh.gov/instruction/school_health/hiv_data.htm. To review YRBS results reported by Public Health Region, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/hsdm/yrbs.htm.

 
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