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For Immediate Release: April 11, 2012
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey results released

The 2011 South Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report was released today.

Administered every other year, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a questionnaire that assesses the six priority health-risk behaviors that result in the greatest amount of morbidity, mortality and social problems among youth.

About 1,800 students in grades 9-12 at randomly selected public, private and Bureau of Indian Education schools participated in the survey.

Key indicators included in the report are outlined below:

• 27 percent of students were bullied on school property in the past 12 months

• 20 percent had been bullied electronically during the past 12 months

• 18 percent seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months

• 49 percent were physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes per day during five or more of the past seven days

• 22 percent wrongly believe smokeless tobacco is safer than cigarettes

• 26 percent had five or more drinks of alcohol within a couple of hours, on one or more of the past 30 days

• 24 percent of currently sexually active students, defined as those who’ve had sexual intercourse during the past three months, drank alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse

“Studies have proven that physically and emotionally healthy students will perform better in the classroom and enjoy continued success throughout their lives,” said Amy Beshara, who is with the South Dakota Department of Education’s Coordinated School Health program. “A comprehensive school health program is a key component in reducing the occurrence of risk behaviors among young people.”

The six priority health-risk behaviors include: behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity.

The South Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Coordinated School Health, which is a collaboration between the state departments of Education and Health.

To view a complete copy of the report, go to and click on Youth Risk Behavior Survey.