Alaska

Please be sure to read the data notes & limitations page. This explains many aspects of these comments, including how only changes over time can be discussed as statistically significant, and why the comparisons with national rates only discuss data for selected subgroups.

Overview of Findings

Changes from baseline to final in Alaska included a substantial improvement in overall young adult mortality, but an increase in older adolescent mortality.  Other mortality data was not available as rates were based on fewer than 20 deaths, thus not suitable for analyses. Baseline data were not available for most objectives.

Alaska compared favorably with final national rates in the areas of sexual experience, current sexual activity, condom use, riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, and physical fighting; compared unfavorably in the areas of overall mortality seatbelt use, weapon carrying, and suicide attempts requiring medical attention; and were comparable to national rates in tobacco use.

Highlights of Findings by Objective

Jump To: Mortality; Unintentional Injury; Violence; Substance Use and Mental Health; Reproductive Health; Chronic Disease Prevention

Mortality

The rate of overall mortality in Alaska was mixed with an increase from baseline among older adolescents but a substantial decrease among young adults, particularly young adult males. Rates among young adult White males improved substantially, and rates among Native Americans decreased somewhat from baseline. Native Americans had higher rates than Whites.

Comparison with national data. Mortality among younger and older adolescents and young adults in Alaska was substantially higher than national rates for those groups at final. While mortality rates among young adults in Alaska were substantially higher than national rates at final, rates for young adults decreased in Alaska from baseline, especially among males, compared to an increase nationally. National gender and racial/ethnic patterns were similar to patterns in Alaska.

Unintentional Injury

(motor vehicle crashes, safety belt use, & riding with a driver who has been drinking alcohol)  Please note the data for safety belt use are presented as “not wearing safety belt,” the inverse of the objective.

Rates or motor vehicle crash mortality were based on fewer than 20 deaths; thus were unsuitable for analyses.

Overall rates of safety belt use were higher among females than males in 2009. Whites were most likely to wear seatbelts, followed closely by Hispanics, with Native Americans least likely to report wearing seatbelts.  Whites were about three times as likely to report wearing a seatbelt than Native Americans.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of safety belt use in Alaska in 2009 was lower than the national rate.  The gender pattern noted at the state level matched the pattern of rates nationally.  The rate of seatbelt use among Hispanics in Alaska was slightly lower than the national rates; while rates for Whites in Alaska were a little higher than national rates.

Rates of adolescents in Alaska who report riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in 2009 were higher among females than males.  Whites reported the highest overall rates, with rates for Hispanics and Native Americans equal.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of adolescents riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in Alaska was lower than the national rate.  While the gender pattern was similar at the state and national level, nationally, females were only slightly more likely to report riding with a driver who had been drinking. Racial/ethnic patterns were different at the national level, with Hispanics most likely to report the behavior, followed by Native Americans and then Whites.

Violence

(homicide, physical fighting, weapon carrying)

Homicide rates were based on fewer than 20 deaths; thus were unsuitable for analyses.

The rate of physical fighting in Alaska was much higher among males than females, with Hispanics reporting the highest rates of physical fighting, followed by Whites and then Native Americans with rates close to Whites.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of physical fighting among adolescents in Alaska was lower than the national rate.  The overall gender pattern at the state level was similar to the national level.  While the state rates were quite similar between Whites and Native Americans, at the national level, rates of physical fighting among Native Americans was substantially higher than White rates, as well as higher than the rates for Native Americans in Alaska.

The rate of weapon carrying among adolescent males in Alaska was more than three times that of females.  Hispanics were most likely to report this behavior followed by Whites and then Native Americans.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of weapon carrying in Alaska was slightly higher than the national rate as were rates across racial/ethnic groups.   Nationally, the gender disparity was even more extreme than in Alaska, with males reporting rates about four times greater than females.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

(binge drinking, marijuana use, suicide, suicide attempts requiring medical attention)

Rates of binge drinking were higher among males in Alaska than females, with the highest rates reported by Whites, followed by Hispanics, and then Native Americans.

Comparison with national data. The patterns of binge drinking rates among males and females in Alaska roughly matched the patterns among those groups nationally.   However the racial/ethnic pattern was different nationally with the highest rates of binge drinking reported by Native Americans, followed by Whites, and then Hispanics.

Rates of marijuana use were higher among males than females, with Native Americans reporting the overall highest rates, followed by Hispanics and then Whites.

Comparison with national data. The patterns of marijuana use among males and females in Alaska matched the patterns nationally.  As in Alaska, Native Americans reported the highest use rates nationally; however nationally, this was followed by Whites and then Hispanics.

Suicide mortality group rates were based on fewer than 20 deaths, and thus were unsuitable for analyses.

The rate of adolescent suicide attempts requiring medical attention in Alaska in 2009 was higher for females than for males.  Hispanics reported the highest rates, followed by Native Americans and Whites.

Comparison with national data. In 2009, the overall rate for adolescent suicide attempts in Alaska was higher than the national rate.  The gender and racial/ethnic pattern was similar at the national and state level.

Reproductive Health

(sexual inexperience, no current sexual activity, condom use)

Please note that for the first two objectives, the text and tables present findings about adolescents who are sexually experienced and currently sexually active, the inverse of the actual objective.  For the third objective, the table presents findings for lack of condom use, the inverse of the objective. (See Data Notes & Limitations).

Overall rates of having engaged in sexual intercourse were slightly higher for Alaska adolescent males than females.  Native Americans were more likely to report having had sex than Whites.

Comparison with national data. The overall Alaska rate of being sexually experienced was somewhat lower than the national rate.  Nationally, rates were similar for males and females.  Similar to the state findings, nationally, Native Americans were more likely to report having had sex than Whites.

The rate of sexually experienced adolescents in Alaska who report current sexual activity is slightly higher among females than males.  Rates are fairly similar among racial/ethnic groups with rates for Native Americans slightly higher than Hispanics, who report slightly higher rates than Whites.

Comparison with national data. The overall Alaska rate of current sexual activity in 2009 was lower than the national rate overall, and across racial/ethnic groups.  Rates between racial/ethnic groups were more disparate at the national level, with rates for Native Americans a good deal higher than rates for Hispanics and Whites. The gender pattern was similar at the national level.

Rates of adolescent condom use in Alaska were higher for males than females during last intercourse.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of adolescent condom use in Alaska in 2009 was slightly higher, but very close to the national rate.

Chronic Disease Prevention

(tobacco use)

Tobacco use rates among males in Alaska were higher than among females, with Native Americans reporting almost two times the rates of Whites and Hispanics, who had similar rates.

Comparison with national data. Rates of tobacco use in Alaska were similar to rates at the national level.  The somewhat higher rates of tobacco use among male versus female adolescents in Alaska matched the pattern at the national level, and racial/ethnic patterns were similar with the highest rates of tobacco use among Native American adolescents.

Additional data may be available at: http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dph/chronic/school/YRBSresults.htm