|Background: Health risk behaviours can directly affect health outcomes. Healthy behaviours such as exercising and eating sensibly can lower the risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes, while unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and excessive drinking raise the risk of conditions like lung cancer and liver disease. In a study using two large national data sets, the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) and Add Health, the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) found that teenagers who consume alcohol or take illicit drugs are more likely to engage in sex, to do so at a younger age, and to have several partners. For adolescents who are 14 years old and younger, consuming alcohol or using drugs doubles and quadruples, respectively, the likelihood that sexual intercourse has ever been experienced compared to adolescents who have never used these substances. A study reported that early onset of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, school problems, delinquency, and physical aggression are significantly associated with early onset of sexual behaviour. Alcohol use in adolescence has also been found to be related to more frequent sexual activity and less frequent use of condoms. Aim: To investigate and explore the effect of a youth development programme (YDP) of combatting health risk behaviours amongst 250 Grade 8 learners in a selected high school in the Paarl area.