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Comparative Study
. Jan-Feb 2003;39(1):33-9.
doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1754.2003.00068.x.

Comparison of Health-Risk Behaviours Among Students in Alternative High Schools From New Zealand and the USA

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Comparative Study

Comparison of Health-Risk Behaviours Among Students in Alternative High Schools From New Zealand and the USA

S J Denny et al. J Paediatr Child Health. .

Abstract

Objectives: To describe the prevalence of health-risk behaviours of New Zealand alternative education students, and to compare these behaviours to similar students in the USA.

Methods: Thirty-six alternative education schools in the northern region of New Zealand were surveyed. A total of 269 students completed a youth health questionnaire using laptop computers. These data were compared to data from an equivalent population of alternative education students in the USA.

Results: Alternative education students from New Zealand and the USA engage in similar high levels of health-risk behaviours. Female students in New Zealand are at particularly high risk of poor health and social outcomes due to high levels of alcohol and marijuana use, driving under the influence of alcohol and high prevalence of risky sexual behaviours. Such health-risk behaviours place alternative education students at greater risk of some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in both youth and adult populations.

Conclusions: Findings from the present study support the need for specific health policies and programmes for alternative high school students. Providers of New Zealand alternative education should be aware that female students are at particularly high risk of many health-risk behaviours.

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