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YRBSS In Brief


The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors priority health-risk behaviors and the prevalence of obesity and asthma among youth and young adults. The YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted CDC and state, territorial, tribal, and district surveys conducted by state, territorial, and local education and health agencies and tribal governments.

YRBSS monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults, including—

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
  • Sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Tobacco use
  • Unhealthy dietary behaviors
  • Inadequate physical activity

In addition, YRBSS monitors the prevalence of obesity and asthma.

The 2011 YRBSS included a national school-based survey conducted by CDC, 47 state surveys, six territory surveys, two tribal government surveys, and 22 local surveys conducted among students in grades 9–12 during October 2010—February 2012.

More information on the purpose, components, and use of the data is available in the YRBSS System Overview [pdf 150K].

Uses of YRBSS data

YRBSS data are used to

  • Measure progress toward achieving national health objectives for Healthy People 2020 and other program and policy indicators
  • Assess trends in priority health-risk behaviors among high school students
  • Evaluate the impact of broad school and community interventions at the national, state, and local levels

In addition, state, territorial, and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations use YRBS data to set and track progress toward meeting school health and health promotion program goals, support modification of school health curricula or other programs, support new legislation and policies that promote health, and seek funding and other support for new initiatives.


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