RISKY BUSINESS

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New York City kids are smoking less and exercising more, according to a national health study, but they’re not cutting down on risky sex, weapons possession, cocaine, or drunk driving. So says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which just released its 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Surveillance Summary. YRBS is conducted every two years and asks high school students nationwide about behaviors that can cause illness or injury. From 2001 to 2003, there was no statistically significant change in the percentage of NYC kids who reported carrying a gun to school in the last month (about one in 28), or who indicated they failed to use a condom the last time they had intercourse (about one in four). But fewer said they smoked regularly during the past month: 5.3 percent in 2003 versus 7.1 percent in 2001. And fewer said they’d drunk alcohol: 35.5 percent compared to 41. The bad news: heroin use was slightly up, from .9 percent to 1.6 percent. And Snapple in city schools be damned: The rate who said they drank fruit juice the week before the survey declined: from 87 percent to 84.3 percent. [06/14/04]