The Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), initiated in 1991, is a federally funded classroom based paper survey conducted biennially on odd years to monitor priority health-risk behaviors that contribute substantially to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. As a primary source for comprehensive statewide data on preventive health practices and health risk behaviors, YRBSS is an important tool for decision-making throughout the Texas Department of State Health services (DSHS), the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and the public health community. Public and private health authorities at the federal and state levels rely on YRBSS to identify public health problems, design policy and interventions, set goals, and measure progress toward those goals.
This surveillance can be used to monitor the Year 2010 Objectives for smoking, overweight, exercise, seat belt use, fruit/vegetable consumption, alcohol consumption, drug use, sexual activity and other risk factors so that intervention priorities can be established and the long-term impact of health promotion programs can be monitored. All 50 state education agencies, the District of Columbia, eight territorial education agencies, 31 local education agencies, and tribal governments are eligible to receive funding to conduct the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), although not all agencies take advantage of this. The YRBSS is used nationwide under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that survey methods and much of the questionnaire are standardized. As a result, comparisons can be made to other states, cities and the nation as a whole.
Funding for the YRBSS is provided by the CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) through a grant to TEA.