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Youth risk behavior surveillance : National College Health Risk Behavior Survey— United States, 1995
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  • Pubmed ID:
    9393659
  • Description:
    PROBLEM/CONDITION: Colleges and universities are important settings for delivering health promotion education and services to many young adults. However, before this national college-based survey was conducted in 1995, the prevalences of health-risk behaviors among college students nationwide had not been well characterized.

    REPORTING PERIOD: January through June 1995.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM: The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults: behaviors that contribute to unintentional and intentional injuries, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity. The YRBSS includes a) national, state, and local school-based surveys of high school students conducted biennially since 1991, b) a household-based survey conducted in 1992 among a national sample of youth aged 12-21 years, whether enrolled in school, and c) the national college-based survey conducted in 1995. This report summarizes results from the national college-based survey-the National College Health Risk Behavior Survey (NCHRBS)-and describes priority health-risk behaviors among college students nationwide and health promotion programs on college campuses.

    RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION: Data from the 1995 survey indicated that many college students throughout the United States engage in behaviors that place them at risk for serious health problems. Almost one third (29.0%) of college students were current cigarette smokers. One third (34.5%) of college students reported episodic heavy drinking during the 30 days preceding the survey, 27.4% reported drinking alcohol and driving during the 30 days preceding the survey, and 30.5% of students who had gone boating or swimming during the 12 months preceding the survey had drunk alcohol while boating or swimming. One in five (20.4%) female college students had been forced to have sexual intercourse during her lifetime. Only 29.6% of students who had had sexual intercourse during the 3 months preceding the survey had used a condom at last sexual intercourse, and 34.5% had used birth control pills. Approximately one in five (20.5%) college students was overweight. Survey results indicated that three fourths (73.7%) of students had failed to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables on the day preceding the survey, 21.8% had eaten three or more high-fat foods on the day preceding the survey, and few students had engaged in vigorous (37.6%) or moderate (19.5%) physical activity at recommended levels.

    ACTIONS TAKEN: The NCHRBS data will be used to measure progress toward achieving 28 national health objectives related to the health-risk behaviors of college students and two national health objectives related to the availability and characteristics of health promotion programs for college students. These data also will be used nationwide by college health and education officials to improve health policies and programs designed to reduce risks associated with the leading causes of mortality and morbidity among college students.

    ss4606.pdf

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