Risk behavior” refers to things youth might do that can place them in danger or have a negative impact on their growth and development. Risky behavior can lead to injury, poor school performance, addiction, delinquency, or lifestyle changes like pregnancy at a young age.
In this section, we cover a number of risky behaviors, including:
The legal age to consume alcoholic beverages in the state of Florida is twenty-one. However, more than half of the children surveyed in Pinellas County began experimenting with alcohol by the eighth grade. Alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on a child’s ability to learn, increase their likelihood of being arrested, and increase the likelihood that they will use marijuana and other drugs.
Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco have both been linked to cancer. Like alcohol, tobacco use can harm a child’s ability to learn.
Illicit drug use
Household chemicals and medications can be abused just like marijuana, cocaine or other drugs. Illicit drug use can cause immediate harm to children and impede their future development. Abuse of some of the drugs in this category can affect brain chemistry and result in problems with learning new information and memory.
Marijuana use puts a child’s physical health and development in jeopardy as well as their ability to reason and learn. Chronic or long-term use also damages the lungs.
Inhalants include many household products that are usually present in any home and accessible to children. Because of that accessibility abuse of these drugs seems to begin relatively early compared with other substances. Despite the fact that these substances are readily available, even to children, they pose many of the same health risks of other tightly controlled substances.
Early sexual activity is associated with emotional and physical health risks. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) and pregnancy are among the risks children take when they become sexually active. STI's can lead to disability and early death. Teen pregnancy is associated with long term difficulties for the mother as well as her child.
Read More About It:
2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/
Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/publications/fysas/
A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Use Facts Update: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/185/185TypicalDay.htm
Reducing the Teen Death Rate
Resilient Girls—Factors That Protect Against Delinquency
Pinellas County Schools 2006 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report: http://www.jwbpinellas.org/Home/FINAL2006YRBS041107.pdf
2006 Prevalence of Substance Use among Pinellas County Students, Part I: Trends in Substance Use: http://www.jwbpinellas.org/Data/2006PrevalenceofSubUsePart%20I.pdf