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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified six (6) priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems in the United States. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, are:


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


“Schools can most effectively and efficiently meet the health needs of young people by focusing their efforts on these six priority health risk behaviors, in addition to addressing other important health problems such as asthma, obesity, and infectious diseases.”

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YBRS) was developed by the CDC, in collaboration with representatives from states, local education agencies, and other federal agencies to monitor the above mentioned priority health risk behaviors. The YBRS is conducted every odd year among middle and high school students through random selection in the state. The MDE, through the Office of Healthy Schools, participates in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and offers training to educators, administrators, counselors, social workers, school nurses, and community health partners interested in participating.