The vast majority of deaths among kids and young adults in the US are preventable- and many involve the choices theymake. Car crashes are responsible for 30% of deaths, unintentional injuries 16%, murder 16%, and suicide 12%. Teen pregnancy causes a wide range of social problems, and there are more than 9 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among people aged 15–24 every year in the US. The leading health and safety problem for this age group are basically related to: 1) behaviors that contribute to injuries and violence; 2) alcohol and other drug use; 3) sexual behavior; 4) unhealthy eating; and 5) physical inactivity. These behaviors frequently are interrelated and are established during childhood and adolescence and extend into adulthood.
The CDC released their Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2009 this month which examines the national trends. They conduct the surveillance annually so that we have better data with which to craft and implement public health interventions to do something about these preventable health issues.