Understanding Student Health

Collecting Data on Louisiana Students’ Health

Health and academic achievement are closely linked. Research shows healthy students are better learners—they earn higher grades and test scores and are more likely to complete their formal education. To better understand this link and to inform decision-making, Well-Ahead Louisiana monitors health behaviors, practices and policies in schools throughout our state. 

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model emphasizes the importance of evidence-based policies and practices, as well as the role of the community in supporting schools. By analyzing and interpreting the data collected in surveys from the Louisiana Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and Louisiana School Health Profiles, we’re able to develop and implement strategies to encourage healthy behaviors in schools.

Louisiana Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

The Louisiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is sponsored every other year by Well-Ahead and the Department of Education. It is also supported by many partners across the state who work to achieve positive outcomes for all youth in Louisiana. The team collects student responses every two years from samples of high schools and middle schools in the state.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, injury and social problems among youth. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include:

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Weight status
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol and other drug use

The survey is part of a larger effort to help communities increase the resiliency of young people by reducing high risk behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors.


2019 YRBS Graphs: This PowerPoint contains graphs and trendlines for each question that had significant findings after analyzing the 2019 YRBS responses.  

2019 YRBS Survey Summary: This document briefly describes the 2019 YRBS Survey sample, response rate, survey design, confidentiality and categories of questions. 

2019 YRBS Sample Description: This document contains a detailed synopsis of the 2019 YRBS survey sample. 

2019 YRBS Detail Tables: This document contains comprehensive tables of responses for each 2019 YRBS survey question. 

Louisiana School Health Profiles

The Louisiana School Health Profiles is a system of surveys that assesses school health policies and practices in our state. Supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), these surveys are conducted every other year with middle school principals, high school principals and lead health education teachers. Through this process, Well-Ahead and our partners are able to more closely monitor areas related to students’ health that include: 

  • School health education requirements and content 
  • Physical education and activity
  • School health policies related to tobacco use prevention
  • Nutrition
  • Asthma management activities
  • Family and community involvement in school health programs
  • School health coordination