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CDC: Black, White Teens Less Risky, Hispanics More Risky Behavior

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, June 06, 2008 1:27 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Teenagers, HPV, Alcohol, Drug Use, Suicide

Ricky behavior among teenagers has stabilized or declined according to the CDC in its latest survey. The only exception, Hispanic teens.  



IMAGE SOURCE : IStockphoto/ teens in classroom/ author: Diane39


A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says risky behavior among teenagers continues to decline for black and white students.

The new study findings are based on a survey of 14,000 U.S. high school students, conducted every two years by the CDC since 1991.

While fewer teens today are drinking, smoking and engaging in sex than their peers of 1991, CDC officials discovered alarming ethnic and racial trends that indicate Hispanic teens are at a higher risk than blacks and whites for certain unsafe behaviors.

This study is based on the latest in a survey of U.S. high school students called the 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  

Among African-American students, the survey finds the percentage who engaged in intercourse declined from 82 percent in 1991 to 66 percent in 2007. The number of sex partners reported among black students was 28 percent with four or more partners in 2007, down from 43 percent in 1991.

Among Caucasian students who’ve had intercourse, 50 percent dropped to 44 percent. The number for four or more partners dropped from 15 to 12 percent last year.

But for Hispanics, there are no reported changes in sexual behavior. 

In 1991, 53 percent of Hispanic teens reported to be having intercourse. In 2007, that number dropped to 52 percent.

Among teens having four or more partners, Hispanic high school students reported 17 percent for both 1991 and 2007.

Hispanic teens displayed other risky behavior at a greater rate, among them, not eating to lose weight, taking cocaine, heroin or ecstasy, or attempting suicide.  They were also most likely to avoid school because of a fear for their safety.

Hispanics are the largest minority in the United States, making up about 17 percent of the population.  Experts are unable to explain why Hispanic behavior trends differ so greatly. However, some suggest that school environments that many Hispanic students face may differ considerably from the environment that other races encounter.

The survey did find some encouraging trends among Hispanic teens.

They were more likely to wear seat belts and use condoms in 2007 than they were in the 1990s. They were also less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use drugs such as marijuana and methamphetamines. 

Altogether last year, 14,000 high school students in grades 9-12, in public and private schools in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, participated in the survey. Students need parental permission to participate. 

The survey did not collect information on parents’ education levels or income, although, some experts believe those factors can be a strong indicator of a teen’s academic achievement and behavior.

CDC officials say to help secure accurate and truthful responses; they make the answers confidential, and keep kids spaced far apart so their peers and teachers can’t see the responses.  #  

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