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Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Previous Results
Fact Sheet: National College Health Risk Behavior Survey (NCHRBS), 1997

About the NCHRBS

The National College Health Risk Behavior Survey (NCHRBS) was conducted in 1995 among undergraduate college students. Results from the survey were published in the MMWR, Volume 46, Number SS-6, November 14, 1997. The survey monitors priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, illness, and social problems among young adults in the United States, including

  • Tobacco use;
  • Unhealthy dietary behaviors;
  • Inadequate physical activity;
  • Alcohol and other drug use;
  • Sexual behaviors that may result in HIV infection, other sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancies;
  • Behaviors that may result in unintentional injuries (such as motor vehicle crashes) and violence including suicide.
Data use

NCHRBS data are used to

  • Determine the prevalence of health risk behaviors among college students;
  • Allow researchers to examine the co-occurrence of health risk behaviors among college students;
  • Monitor progress toward achieving Healthy People 2010 objectives;
  • Determine what health information students receive from their colleges or universities;
  • Assess whether health risk behaviors increase, decrease, or
    remain the same over time.
Data collection

The NCHRBS questionnaire was developed by CDC in collaboration with representatives from universities, relevant national organizations, and federal agencies. The survey was conducted through the mail and used multiple mail and telephone follow-ups to help ensure a good response rate. Responses to the NCHRBS questionnaire were both voluntary and confidential. NCHRBS used a scientific sample of students enrolled in public and private, 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. Questionnaires were received from 4,609 eligible students. The results are generalizable to undergraduate college students nationwide aged 18 years or older.

CDC hopes to repeat the NCHRBS in 2003.


 Percentage of Undergraduate College Students Who Engaged in Health Risk Behaviors

Injury-related behaviors 1824
years
Greater than 25 years Total
Rarely or never used seat belts when riding in a car 11.1 7.8 10.2
Drove after drinking alcohol 1 27.8 26.7 27.4
Carried a weapon (such as gun, knife, or club) 1,2 8.5 7.3 8.0
Participated in a physical fight 3 13.2 4.8 10.2
Seriously considered attempting suicide 3 11.4 8.3 10.3

Tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use  1824
years
Greater than 25 years Total
Current cigarette use 1 28.8 28.7 29.0
Current episodic heavy drinking 4 41.5 22.0 34.5
Current marijuana use 1 17.3 8.3 14.0
Lifetime cocaine use 6.6 28.1 14.4

Sexual behaviors  1824
years
Greater than 25 years Total
Ever had sexual intercourse 79.5 97.8 86.1
6 or more sex partners during lifetime 25.7 49.6 34.5
Condom use during last sexual intercourse 5 37.7 18.5 29.6

Dietary behaviors 1824
years
Greater than 25 years Total
Overweight 6 15.5 28.8 20.5
Exercised to lose weight or keep from gaining weight 1 53.4 54.0 53.6
Ate 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables 7 25.0 28.5 26.3

Physical Activity 1824
years
Greater than 25 years Total
Vigorous physical activity 8 41.8 30.6 37.6
Moderate physical activity 9 20.2 18.1 19.5
Strengthening exercises 10 33.4 23.5 29.9

  1. During the 30 days preceding the survey.
  2. Not including carrying a weapon for job-related reasons.
  3. During the 12 months preceding the survey.
  4. Had drunk 5 or moredrinks of alcohol on at least one occasion on 1 or moreof the 30 days preceding the survey.
  5. Among students who had had sexual intercourse during the 3 months preceding the survey.
  6. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI=weight [kg]/height[m]2) of27.8 or higherfor men and 27.3 or higherfor women. This classification was based on the 85th percentile value for BMI among persons aged 20-29 years in the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
  7. On the day preceding the survey.
  8. Activities that caused sweating and hard breathing for at least20 minutes on 3 or moreof the 7 days preceding the survey.
  9. Walked or bicycled for at least30 minutes on 5 or moreof the 7 days preceding the survey.
  10. Such as push-ups, sit-ups, or weight lifting on 3 or moreof the 7 days preceding the survey.

Source: CDC's 1995 National College Health Risk Behavior Survey.



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This page last updated November 05, 2002

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
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