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

rtners also dropped, from 15 percent in 1991 to 12 percent in 2007.

However, among Hispanic high school students there has been no significant change in sexual behaviors. In 1991, 53 percent of Hispanic teens reported having had intercourse, and in 2007 that number was 52 percent. And 17 percent of Hispanic high school students reported having sex with four or more partners in both 1991 and 2007, Wechsler said.

The numbers of high school students who were taught about HIV hasn't changed significantly among Hispanics, but did increase among black and white students, the survey found.

Hispanic teens were also more likely than black or white students to have attempted suicide, or use cocaine, heroin or ecstasy. Hispanics were also more likely to be in a car with a driver who had been drinking. They were also more likely to not eat for a day or more in an attempt to lose weight, compared with their black and white counterparts, Wechsler said.

Hispanic teens were also more likely to stay away from school because of safety concerns than black or white students. "It is particularly troubling to see that our Hispanic students appeared to be at a disadvantage in terms of the safety of their school campuses," Wechsler said.

Hispanic teens were also more likely to be offered or sold illegal drugs or drink at school, Wechsler said.

"It is alarming that the [survey] documents multiple disparities for Latino youth in America and that few of these disparities have changed since the last survey in 2005," Dr. Glenn Flores, a professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center, in Dallas, said during the teleconference.

While members of all racial and ethnic groups engage in risky health behaviors, the plight of Hispanic students is particularly disturbing, he said.

"Latino youth are more likely to report feeling sad or hopeless, a
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