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Tennessee: Knox Middle Schoolers Report Risky Behaviors

November 11, 2009

At the recent quarterly meeting of the Knox County School Health Advisory Council, the county's director of Community Assessment and Health Promotion presented results from the 2008 Knox County Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. "I don't like hearing some of the things I am going to tell you," said Dr. Kathy Brown, "but it's reality."

Almost 16 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders reported having had sexual intercourse, with 4.5 percent saying their sexual initiation had occurred before age 11.

Males (19.5 percent) were more likely than females (11.9 percent) to have had sex. Black students (32.7 percent) were more likely to have had sex than white students (13 percent).

Among those students who reported sex, 60 percent said they used condoms.

More than 9 percent of the middle school students said they had tried marijuana, and more than 5 percent said they were current pot smokers. Some 2 percent reported having tried methamphetamine; 2.8 percent had tried cocaine; and 8.6 percent had abused inhalants.

Tobacco use in the last month was reported by nearly 9 percent of students, with more than 5 percent saying they smoked cigarettes. More than 4 percent said they smoked their first cigarette before age 11.

One in five students said they had felt so sad almost daily for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some normal activities. More than 17 percent said they had contemplated suicide, and nearly 7 percent said they had attempted to end their lives.

"It becomes the community's challenging responsibility to decide, ‘Are these numbers too high?'" Brown said. "Do we accept that risk to our community?"

Back to other news for November 2009

Adapted from:
Knoxville News-Sentinel
11.09.2009; Kristi L. Nelson

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
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10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More Research on HIV Prevention Among Youth


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