June 2012Dear Colleagues, Parents, and Students:The Massachusetts Departments of Public Health (DPH) is pleased to present the results of the 2011Massachusetts Youth Health Survey (MYHS). This report features significant enhancements; one of which is theinclusion of key findings by race, ethnicity and gender and the identification of disparate (
) outcomes. Thisis particularly relevant to the work of the MDPH and Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS)since we share as a top priority the elimination of health disparities and promotion of health equity.This survey was administered in a random sample of 137 public secondary schools by the University of Massachusetts Center for Survey Research in the spring of 2011. The following report
presents key indicators of the behavioral and health risks reported by middle school and high school youth.This report provides important information about behaviors and conditions that may compromise the health, safety,and wellbeing of young people across the Commonwealth. These behaviors include tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; behaviors leading to injuries, such as drinking and driving and poor seatbelt use, dietary behaviors andphysical inactivity; and sexual behaviors that may lead to sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy. The reportalso discusses the prevalence of health-related conditions such as obesity, chronic disease, oral health problems,and mental health concerns among our youth. The race/ethnicity data presented in this report may be used as astate benchmark and as a reference point for town surveys.It is our hope that the data gathered through this survey and presented here can be utilized by schools, communityprograms, healthcare workers and families to better understand and address the health risks that our youth faceand to promote the health of all young people in Massachusetts.Thank you for your own continued commitment to improving the lives and health of youth in Massachusetts.
Sincerely,John AuerbachCommissioner Department of Public Health