YRBS: Big Decreases over Last 12 Years

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults, including behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence, sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV infection), alcohol and other drug use, tobacco use, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and inadequate physical activity. The system includes a national school-based survey conducted by CDC, as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys.

The most recent report, released June 13, shows significant decreases in a number of sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and STIs between 1991 and 2013:





One significant increase of note: condom use! Among currently sexually active students, 59% reported that either they or their partner used a condom during the last time they had sexual intercourse. That’s a big jump from 1991, when just 46% reported the same.


The YRBS is a valuable source of important information. If you use it in you work, please let us know how in the comment section!


Helping Teens Stay Healthy and Safe: The Importance of Confidential Contraceptive Services for Teens

Gina Desiderio

Gina Desiderio

Confidential contraceptive services are an important component of both comprehensive health care for adolescents and teen pregnancy prevention efforts. This has been documented in the findings of research  studies, confirmed by the experience of  health care professionals, and reflected in the policies of health care professional organizations. Numerous laws at the state and federal levels help to ensure adolescents’ access to contraceptive services and provide  confidentiality protections that facilitate  access.

The Helping Teens Stay Healthy and Safe brochure series, developed by Healthy Teen Network and the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law (CAHL), offers guidance to health care providers, teens, and parents of teens about ways they can deliver, receive, and support adolescents’ access to confidential contraceptive services.

  • For Providers: Discusses rationales for providing confidential contraceptive services to teens, support that exists in the policies of health care professional organizations, and ways that state and federal laws can be useful. (Brochure and full report available.)
  • For Teens: Teaches teens about confidential services and lets teens know how and what they can access on their own.
  • For Parents: Helps parents understand why supporting teens’ access to confidential services is consistent with good parenting.

Gina Desiderio is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Healthy Teen Network.




How Would You Score? Assessing for Characteristics of Effective Curricula

Valerie Sedivy

Valerie Sedivy

If you work with schools to provide teen pregnancy, HIV, and/or STI programming, you may already know that many schools and districts use the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) to select and adapt curricula.

For those of you less familiar with yet another acronym for our field: The HECAT stands for Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool. It was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with help from many different experts in a wide range of fields, including public and school health education practices, health education standards and assessment, school curriculum design, classroom instruction, and health risk behavioral research and practice.

There are many benefits to using the HECAT to select and adapt curricula, but here are some of the top reasons…

  • Assess a health education curriculum you already have in place and identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Compare various curricula with one another in a fair and systematic way, to select a curriculum.
  • Design a new curriculum and capitalize on the guidance in the HECAT.

Your efforts to work with schools are more likely to be successful if you know how to use this tool. With support from CDC-DASH*, Healthy Teen Network has developed an orientation to the HECAT through a series of pre-recorded mini-webinars, designed to help you learn at your own pace. Topics covered include:

  1. What is the HECAT, and how can it help me?
  2. Building blocks of the HECAT: The Characteristics of Effective Curricula
  3. Building blocks of the HECAT: The National Health Education Standards
  4. A walk through the HECAT
  5. Using topic-based modules to review curricula
  6. What now? The HECAT review process and use of results

(Click on each topic above to view the mini-webinars.)

Healthy Teen Network also offers in-person training on the HECAT, to help you gain hands-on experience using this tool. You can request a training online through our Service Request Form.

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health, cooperative agreement 1U87PS004175-01.

Valerie Sedivy is a Senior Program Manager at Healthy Teen Network.

Spotlight on Young Fathers

Father Reading to ChildrenWhen it comes to teen parenting, too often young fathers are left out of the conversation. Any time is the right time to make sure that teen fathers’ rights, needs, and roles are considered, but with Father’s Day right around the corner, the time is ideal to shine a spotlight on these resources from Healthy Teen Network, which were created specifically with the needs of young fathers in mind.

Advocacy Resource Guide: Supporting Young Fathers
This guide explores how professionals who work with young fathers can help them to be there for their new families by first helping them to develop as individuals. This includes providing support to continue with their education, assistance with obtaining employment, as well as fostering their emotional development with the goal of adopting a positive, male parent identity. This guide also includes opportunities for health care providers and some key focus areas for young fathers’ programs to address.

Fast Facts: Unique Needs of Young Fathers
While teen fatherhood appears to be associated with similar consequences to those observed for teen mothers, most national programs serving low-income families focus on mothers rather than fathers. Recently, attempts to include young fathers in services have increased, but relatively few programs for young fathers exist. This fact sheet includes statistics and other information on young fathers, including the research gap on the subject and risk factors related to this population. 

The Core Components of Supportive Housing for Pregnant & Parenting Teens
The identification of the core components provides guidance for supportive housing programs to meet the needs of pregnant and parenting teens by providing the supports and resources needed to help them succeed. 

A BDI Logic Model for Working with Young Families Resource Kit
In response to a need voiced by professionals working with young families, Healthy Teen Network designed a Behavior-Determinant-Intervention (BDI) Logic Model for Working with Young Families in collaboration with various professionals in the field.

Fast Facts: Supporting Young Male Involvement in Pregnancy Prevention & Parenting
This fact sheet explores the benefits of targeting boys and young men specifically in order to reduce teen pregnancy and early, unintended fatherhood and to promote the development of positive relationships between young fathers and their children.



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