American students pay more attention to health, report says

The survey has been conducted every two years since 1991. This year's survey is based on data collected in the spring of 2005 from almost 14,000 students in public and private high schools around the country. In addition to national data, the report also includes data from surveys conducted in 40 states and 21 large urban school districts, HealthDay News reports.

Two highlights of the survey involved seat belt use and alcohol use. High school students appear to be getting the message to buckle up. The 2005 National YRBS found only 10 percent of high school students said they rarely or never wore a seat belt when riding in a car, a dramatic decline from the 18 percent in 2003 and 26 percent in 1991. The percentage of students who report current alcohol use has also declined dramatically (43 percent in 2005 vs. 51 percent in 1991) since the first YRBS survey, News-Medical.net reports.

Overall, the proportion of high school students engaging in critical health risk behaviors has declined, researchers said. This includes behavior related to motor vehicle safety, sexual activity, tobacco and alcohol use, and violence, according to Forbes.

There has also been a drop in the percentage of students reporting ever having sexual intercourse (47 percent in 2005, down from 54 percent in 1991). Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of sexually active students reported using a condom during the last sexual intercourse, up considerably from 46 percent in 1991.