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Digest of Education Statistics: 2011
Digest of Education Statistics: 2011

NCES 2012-001
May 2012

Appendix A.4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) was created in 1991 to monitor six types of health-risk behaviors that lead to death and disability among young adults: tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, physical inactivity; sexual risk behaviors, unhealthy diet behaviors, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. Obesity and asthma among youth and young adults are also measured. Surveys are conducted every 2 years, usually in the spring semester.

The system includes a national school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys conducted by state, territorial, and local health and education agencies and tribal governments. Each survey takes one class period to complete, approximately 10 minutes to distribute materials and give directions and 35 minutes to record responses. Permission is obtained from parents before administering this anonymous, voluntary survey. States and local agencies can add or delete questions from the core questionnaire to meet their policy or programmatic needs.

Local, territorial, and jurisdictional data from YRBSS surveys are weighted to represent all public school students in grades 9–12 in the respective jurisdiction. National data are collected from a separate scientific sample of students and are representative of students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Sample size varies according to area, district, or school administering the survey. Methodological studies were conducted in 1991 and 1999 to assess the validity of the self-reported behaviors and personal information. Research indicates that student-reported data is just as credible as that gathered from adults.

Further information on the YRBSS may be obtained from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Adolescent and School Health
4770 Buford Highway, NE
Atlanta, GA 30341