Very little is known about youth health risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use and sexual activity in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories specifically. This lack of information, together with a lack of open discussion of these topics, leaves public health authorities in the region unprepared to deal with emerging public health threats at a time when major social and economic changes are increasing the risks that young men and women face. The Palestinian Youth Health Risk Study was designed to address these gaps in knowledge. It is the first in the region to collect large scale, representative survey data from youth on key risk behaviors (smoking, alcohol and drug use, and sexual activity as well as interpersonal violence). The study investigates the prevalence and patterns of these risk behaviors as well as of mental health, perceptions of the risks of such behaviors, and the factors increasing vulnerability to as well as protection from engagement in them.
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