How the Youth Risk Behavior Survey Protects Youth

Key Takeaways

  • YRBS helps us understand many health-related topics affecting American youth, including mental health.
  • The data provides the best picture of what is going on with adolescent health at all levels: national, state, and local.
  • YRBS can make a real difference to youth in your community.

Why do we need YRBS?

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) collects data from students in grades 9—12 on key health behaviors and experiences that contribute to the leading causes of death and illness during both adolescence and adulthood.

YRBS results help:
  • monitor changes over time,
  • identify emerging issues, and
  • plan and evaluate programs to support the health of youth.
YRBS data are used by:
  • health departments,
  • educators,
  • lawmakers,
  • doctors, and
  • community organizations.

These efforts ultimately help improve youth health both in the short term (reducing screen time, receiving mental health support) and in the future (reducing the risk of cancer, addiction, or sexually transmitted diseases). Healthy students are better learners and more likely to become healthy adults.

Why is it valuable to collect health-related data about youth?

Districts, schools, and students are randomly selected and cannot be replaced; each school’s participation is critical to ensure results are representative of youth nationwide.

The YRBS gives students an opportunity to share their voice, anonymously and voluntarily.

a multiracial group of students in the classroom

Participation brings students’ experiences to light so that parents, districts, and schools can provide the most appropriate resources for any challenges.