Governor Douglas & Officials Announce Results of 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2003

Contact: Jason Gibbs
(802) 828-3333

RICHMOND, VT—Governor Jim Douglas was joined by state health and education officials today at Camels Hump Middle School in Richmond to release the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey results.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey measures behaviors that can negatively affect the health of Vermont’s youth such as smoking, alcohol and other drug use, violence, and diet and exercise.

“This year’s survey shows that young people in Vermont have made some great strides in making healthy decisions,” said Governor Douglas. “We are proud of these young people. All Vermonters should support the positive changes our youth have made.”

“I’m very encouraged by this year’s survey results,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, health commissioner. “We are seeing significant decreases in many risk behaviors. Over the past six years, youth smoking has declined by 44 percent and drinking by 22 percent.”

“This survey is an important tool for educators,” said Education Commissioner David Larsen. “We know, for example, that parental involvement in their children’s education is a key factor in academic achievement. Three-quarters of parents talk with their children daily about school. This reminds educators that parents are involved partners in the education process.”

“This proves that given the information, environment and encouragement they need, young people can and do make healthy choices,” continued Governor Douglas.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is conducted every two years in participating supervisory unions throughout the state. In 2003, 31,814 eighth and twelfth grade students in 153 Vermont schools participated in the survey.

Among this year’s findings: