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J Adolesc Health. 2001 Nov;29(5):337-43.

Prevalence of health-related behaviors among alternative high school students as compared with students attending regular high schools.

Author information

1
Division of Adolescent and School Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA. jgrunbaum@cdc.gov

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To provide national data on health-risk behaviors of students attending alternative high schools and compare the prevalence of these risk behaviors with data from the 1997 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

METHODS:

The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey uses a three-stage cluster sampling design. Data were collected from 8918 students in alternative high schools in 1998 (ALT-YRBS) and 16,262 students in regular high schools in 1997 (YRBS). The health-risk behaviors addressed include behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity. A weighing factor was applied to each student record to adjust for nonresponse and varying probabilities of selection. SUDAAN was used to compute 95% confidence intervals, which were considered significant if the 95% confidence intervals did not overlap.

RESULTS:

Students attending alternative high schools were at significantly greater risk than students in regular high schools for violence-related injury; suicide; human immunodeficiency virus infection or other sexually transmitted diseases; pregnancy; and development of chronic disease related to tobacco use, unhealthy dieting practices, and lack of vigorous activity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Many students in alternative high schools are at risk for both acute and chronic health problems. Because these youth are still in a school setting, alternative high schools are in a unique position to provide programs to help decrease the prevalence of risk-taking behaviors.

PMID:
11691595
DOI:
10.1016/s1054-139x(01)00304-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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