CDC Data on Health-Related Behaviors and Academic Achievement Among High School Students Available

Published Date: 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Issue: 
No.198
Category: 
Adolescent Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new data that emphasizes the connection between student health and academic performance. Although studies have indicated a relationship between educational outcomes and health-related behaviors, there has been a lack of recent nationally representative studies. CDC analyzed results from the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to assess the relationship between academic achievement and 30 health-related behaviors significantly contributing to morbidity and mortality among adolescents in the United States. Key findings from this study include:

  • Regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, and grade-level, high school students reporting lower academic grades also reported greater health risk behaviors associated with substance use, violence, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and risky sexual behavior.
  • Students who reported positive academic outcomes had statistically significantly higher prevalence estimates for protective health-related behaviors compared to their peers who reported poor academic outcomes.

These findings demonstrate the importance of the school as a key setting for improving health. This study suggests that a collaboration between education and public health professionals to achieve both improved health outcomes and education for youth may be mutually beneficial. 

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