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Fewer U.S. High School Students Engage in Risky Behaviors
Date:6/4/2008

But survey finds a discouraging lack of progress among Hispanic children

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic high school students are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors, including sexual intercourse, drug use, and suicide than white or black teens, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

While there have been substantial improvements in many behaviors among high school students, Hispanic students remain at higher risk for some risky sexual behaviors than their black and white counterparts, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This new report tells us that while large numbers of high school students continue to engage in behaviors that place their health at risk, the percentage of students engaging in many of these risk behaviors is lower today than it was in the early 1990s," Howell Wechsler, the CDC's director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health, said during a teleconference.

"However, our Hispanic students remain at greater risk than white and black students for certain health-related behaviors and have not matched the progress made over time by black and white students in reducing some sexual risk behaviors," Wechsler said.

Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States. Hispanics make up 17 percent of the population aged 15 to 19 and about 20 percent of the population under 5 years old, Wechsler noted.

According to the report, 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the percentage of black students who engaged in sexual intercourse dropped from 82 percent in 1991 to 66 percent in 2007. And black students who'd had sex with four or more partners also declined, from 43 percent in 1991 to 28 percent in 2007.

Among white students, those having sexual intercourse dropped from 50 percent in 1991 to 44 percent in 2007. And the number of white teens having four or more pa
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