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The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative uses a public health and collective impact approach to align and enhance collaborative efforts to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children, youth and families through systems, policy and social norms change.

New CDC report: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New CDC report: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2019
Highlighting emerging issues in adolescent health behaviors

Today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2019,” includes an MMWR Surveillance Supplement featuring several articles written by experts from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control using 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data on the following topic areas: interpersonal violence victimization, suicidal ideation and behaviors, transportation risk behaviors, prescription opioid misuse, and trends in violence victimization and suicide risk by sexual identity.  

Some key injury and violence findings among U.S. high school students from the report:


  • Interpersonal violence victimization: Dating violence, sexual violence, and bullying are all adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and are serious public health problems. Among US high school students, 1 in 8 experience dating violence, 1 in 9 experience sexual violence, and 1 in 4 experience bullying.
  • Suicidal ideation and behaviors: Many adolescents experience suicidal ideation, make suicide plans, and attempt suicide. In 2019, approximately 1 in 5 youth seriously considered attempting suicide; 1 in 6 made a suicide plan; 1 in 11 made a suicide attempt; and 1 in 40 made a suicide attempt requiring medical treatment.
  • Transportation risk behaviors: Motor vehicle crash injuries are a leading cause of death and nonfatal injury among adolescents. In 2019, 43.1% of U.S. high school students did not always wear a seat belt as a passenger, and 16.7% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol during the past 30 days. Students engaging in one transportation risk behavior were more likely to engage in other transportation risk behaviors.
  • Prescription opioid misuse and use of alcohol and other substances: Though declining, substance use among high school students remains common — with approximately 1 in 3 students reporting current alcohol use, 1 in 5 reporting current marijuana use, and 1 in 7 reporting current binge drinking.
  • Trends in violence victimization and suicide risk by sexual identity: LGB students experienced more violence victimization and reported more suicide risk behaviors than their heterosexual peers.


These findings provide an important snapshot of the health of American youth. How well we monitor and address these behaviors now will greatly impact the overall picture of the health for our nation’s youth in the future.



The 2019 YRBS data are available at

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This is a reliable on going compendium of risky or harmful behavior among America's youth and an excellent source of knowledge about social morbidity among our kids as well as a sense of trends. It should be mentioned that while basic demographic parameters are routinely collected, the CDC's studies do not ask and do not correlate the presence of these morbidities with current or past child abuse or neglect.

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