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Notice to Readers: Choose Respect National Initiative

During May 2006, CDC is launching Choose Respect, a national initiative designed to prevent dating violence and encourage persons aged 11--14 years to have healthy, respectful relationships. Findings from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that approximately one in 11 high school students reported being victims of physical dating violence during the 12 months preceding the survey, equating to nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide (1). Those victimized by a dating partner were more likely to engage in episodic heavy drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity (1).

Dating violence in adolescents also has been linked to lifelong patterns of violence that carry over into other relationships (2). Healthy relationship skills can have a beneficial effect on the ability of adolescents to prevent dating violence (2).

Choose Respect encourages the early development of healthy attitudes, behaviors, and skills (e.g., negotiation or compromise) to help youth interact positively and treat others with respect. The initiative tools are designed to complement other community prevention strategies to change social norms and encourage healthy relationships. Additional information is available at

Throughout summer 2006, CDC will work with community agencies in 10 cities to create awareness of the initiative's themes and resources among youths aged 11--14 years. In each city, activities and materials, including online games, videos, posters, and public service announcements, will be used to increase awareness of the importance of respecting friends and peers and to teach skills that help form healthy relationships.


  1. CDC. Physical dating violence among high school students---United States, 2003. MMWR 2006;55:532--5.
  2. Wekerle C, Wolfe DA. Dating violence in mid-adolescence: theory, significance, and emerging prevention initiatives. Clin Psychol Rev 1999;19:435--56.

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Date last reviewed: 5/17/2006


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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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