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CDC Telebriefing Transcript
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 2001

June 27, 2002

CDC MODERATOR: Thank you. Good afternoon. This is Kathy Harbin in CDC's press office. Today's telebriefing is on data from our 2001 Health Risk Behavior Survey of high school students. Our speaker this afternoon is Dr. Laura Kann and that's spelled K-a-n-n, n as in nancy." She is a behavioral scientist and expert on youth risk behaviors. She'll provide a
brief introduction and then we'll open it up for questions.


AT&T OPERATOR: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when we do have the question-and-answer session, please press one on your touchtone phone at that time. You'll hear a tone indicating you've been placed in queue and may remove yourself from queue by pressing the pound key. If you're using a speaker phone, you should please press up your handset before pressing the numbers.

CDC MODERATOR: Actually, this is Kathy again. We need to let Laura give her introduction before we go to the Q&A.

AT&T OPERATOR: I'm sorry. When you turned it over to me, I misunderstood.

Dr. Kann's line is open.


DR. KANN: Okay; thank you.

As Kathy indicated, this report releases new data from CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance system is the only surveillance system of its kind to measure a wide range of priority health risk behaviors among youth at the national, state and local levels.

The report released today provides information on behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries, like seatbelt use and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity.

The report describes results from the 2001 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, from 34 separate state surveys and from 18 surveys conducted by large urban school districts.

The report indicates that while many health risk behaviors are improving among kids, particularly as compared to back in the early 1990's, too many high school students are still practicing behaviors that place them at risk for unnecessary health, education and social problems, both now while they're kids, and later, in adulthood. Thank you.

CDC MODERATOR: Alan, we're now ready for the Q&A.

AT&T OPERATOR: All right. Thank you.

And, again, ladies and gentlemen, if you do have questions please press the one on your touchtone phone at this time, and, again, you'll hear a tone indicating you've been placed in queue. You may remove yourself from queue by pressing the pound key, and, again, if you're using a speaker phone, please pick up your handset before pressing the numbers.

We have a question in queue from the line of Cary Dooley [ph] with Bloomberg News. Go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Hi. Just overall, when it says that they are acting more responsibly by avoiding tobacco, marijuana, and risky sexual behavior, why is that? What's driving that?

DR. KANN: There's a variety of factors that would contribute to any change in behaviors. Behaviors are complex phenomena and consequently when they change, the reasons why they change are also complex. In the tobacco area, in particular, we know that there's some things, in particular, that have contributed to the decline.

For example, there's been a 70 percent increase in the retail price of cigarettes since 1997. We've seen increases in school-based efforts to prevent tobacco use and we've seen increases in youth exposure to mass media smoking prevention campaigns.

But that's just probably some of the factors that have contributed to the decline.

QUESTION: And there was something like alcohol use? Or has that not declined?

DR. KANN: Alcohol use has actually been very steady for the last ten years and it's neither increased nor decreased in any significant way.

QUESTION: So I guess just my last question would be, I mean, is the message that students are being more responsible, or you said the emphasis is that there are still too many at risk?

DR. KANN: I'd say both . We've seen some clear improvements since the early 1990's in many behaviors--injury-related behaviors, drug-related behaviors, and sexual risk behaviors, but still, too many kids are practicing behaviors that place them at risk.

QUESTION: Thank you.

AT&T OPERATOR: We'll next go to the line of Allison McCook [ph] with Reuters Health . Go ahead, please.

QUESTION: Hi. I was wondering why do you think there's such a wide difference between states and which states did you find had the most and the least rates of high-risk behaviors?

DR. KANN: Behaviors vary across states, probably for a lot of the same reasons that they change in the first place. Things such as state and local laws and policies, enforcement practices, access to things such as illegal drugs, access to effective interventions, prevailing norms, demographic characteristics, adult practices. All those kinds of things contribute to state differences.

QUESTION: Okay. Is there a way to learn from the states that have, that seem to have the lowest rates of risk behaviors and apply that knowledge to states that have higher rates?

DR. KANN: I think that's one of the reasons that it's important to measure these behaviors, not only at the national level but at the state and local levels as well, because it identifies both where things are going well and where things aren't going as well, so we can ask just those kinds of questions.

QUESTION: Okay. Are you going to be able to, as a result to this study, that's sort of the next step?

DR. KANN: CDC works with all the states on a variety of public health issues, and we'll be using the data that are in this report across many programs at CDC to help us decide how and where to target programs and to place interventions.

QUESTION: Okay; thanks.

AT&T OPERATOR: And, again, ladies and gentlemen, as a reminder, if you do have questions please take this opportunity now to press the one on your touchtone phone.

And speakers, we have no further questions in queue at this time. Please proceed.

CDC MODERATOR: Dr. Kann, is there anything else that you would like to add?

DR. KANN: I guess, again, just to summarize, that while we've seen some important improvements in health risk behaviors among kids in the last ten years, we still have plenty of work to do because there are still too many kids that are practicing behaviors that will cause them health, education and social problems. Thank you.

CDC MODERATOR: Okay. This is Kathy Harbin again. Dr. Kann will still be available for questions this afternoon . You can reach her either by calling the main press number at [404] 639-3286, or at the Chronic Disease Center's press line at [770] 488-5131. If there are no more questions, I think we can wrap this up.

AT&T OPERATOR: And thank you, ladies and gentlemen. That does conclude your conference call for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T's executive teleconference service. You may now disconnect.

Listen to the telebriefing

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