Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 150–160 | Cite as

Health Risk Behaviors by Length of Time in the United States Among High School Students in Five Sites

  • Sherry Everett Jones
  • Clelia Pezzi
  • Alfonso Rodriguez-Lainz
  • Lisa Whittle
Original Paper


One in five public school students is from an immigrant-headed household. We used Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from one state and four large urban school districts to examine whether length of time living in the US was associated with health risk behaviors. Logistic regression models, using weighted data, controlled for sex, race/ethnicity, and grade. Compared to US natives, not having always lived in the US was correlated with lower risk for some behaviors (e.g., current marijuana use and alcohol use) among high school students, but higher risk for other behaviors (e.g., attempted suicide, physical inactivity). Many findings were inconsistent across the study sites. Interventions that specifically target recently-arrived school-aged youth to prevent behaviors that put health and safety at risk, may result in the best outcomes for immigrant youth. Care should be taken to understand the specific health risks present in different immigrant communities.


Immigrant Acculturation Youth High school students Health risk behaviors 



The authors acknowledge the following YRBS site coordinators/contacts for sharing their data: Donna Eisenhower and Keosha Bond, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Lisa Sharp, Seattle Public Schools; Patricia Dao-Tran, Boston Public Schools; Tara Hylton, Florida Department of Health; Kim Levine, San Francisco Unified School District.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (Outside USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherry Everett Jones
    • 1
  • Clelia Pezzi
    • 2
  • Alfonso Rodriguez-Lainz
    • 2
  • Lisa Whittle
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Adolescent and School HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Global Migration and QuarantineCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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