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Issue 6, Summer 2013

Youth risk behavior in Anguilla

Challenging the authorities seems the main and the most important activity during the transition from the childhood to adulthood – if you ask parents. But SJSM students know that it is only partially true. They know that during this period youngsters also establish patterns of behavior and lifestyle choices that will affect their present and their future. Are those choices healthy? Are those behaviors risky? Should we ask their families, peers, teachers…or should we ask youngsters themselves? In US every academic research on adolescent health behaviors is based on only two official sources of information: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future (MTF). YRBS and MTF evaluate unintentional injuries and violence, smoking, drinking, drug use, diet, sexual activity, physical activity and other health-related issues to monitor priority health-risk behaviors and the prevalence of certain health conditions. YRBS is administered every other year to a random sample of middle school and high school US students. Student participation is voluntary and anonymous. Results of the YRBS are used:
  • for evaluation of initiatives to decrease risk behaviors taken by federal, state, and local public health authorities
  • as guidelines for government agencies, community organizations, schools, and other community members to organize a comprehensive collaboration in promoting healthy lifestyles in youth
  • for determining how significant are other factors (environment, family, peer group, society) for developing health and risk behaviors
Those surveys and actions are of outermost importance because establishing healthy behaviors earlier in life is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors later on during the adulthood (opposite also applies!) SJSM students were curious to find out Are students in other parts of the world as healthy, risky or scandalous as students in US?

youth risk behavior research by medical students

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