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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Youth: Youth Risk Behavior Survey (1997-2003)

Shira P. Rutman, BA, Alice Park, MPH, Mei Lin Castor, MD, MPH, Maile Taualii, MPH, and Ralph Forquera, MPH. Urban Indian Health Institute, Seattle Indian Health Board, PO Box 3364, Seattle, WA 98114, 206-812-3043, shirar@uihi.org


To identify disparities in health risk behaviors between urban American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and urban all race youth.


Data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) were used for the analyses. The YRBS is a self-report questionnaire administered to a sample of 9th-12th grade students in order to monitor health-risk behaviors. We utilized aggregated averages from 1997- 2003 (Total sample=59, 839). “Urban” was defined as within a Metropolitan Statistical Area. Statistically significant differences were determined by a lack of overlap in 95% confidence intervals for prevalence estimates of interest.


AI/AN were 1% of the sample (N=609). Urban AI/AN students were significantly more likely than urban all race students to engage in behaviors that result in unintentional injuries and violence, tobacco use, drug use, physical inactivity, and overweight. The prevalence of AI/AN behaviors which were at least two-fold higher than all race youth included: medical treatment from a fight (10.8% and 4.2%), being forced to have unwanted sex (16.5% and 8.3%), attempted suicide (20.7% and 8.4%), medical treatment from suicide attempt (10.5% and 2.7%), chewing tobacco/snuff at school (11.0% and 4.2%), heroin use (7.4% and 2.8%), and injection drug use (5.1% and 2.2%).


The higher prevalence of health risk-behaviors in urban AI/AN compared to all race students reflects a significant disparity between these populations. There is a clear need for prevention programs to address the risk behaviors of urban AI/AN youth. Further research is critical to understand reasons for the disparities and to respond appropriately.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participants will be able to

Keywords: American Indians, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

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