Many U.S. teens combine risky behaviors

Nov. 16, 2010 at 9:19 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Almost 30 percent of U.S. high school students report persistent sadness, another one-third drinks and 7.5 percent have sex before age 13, researchers say.

A study by the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health finds about one in five teens were involved in two or more fights in the past year, used marijuana in the last month or had ever used other drugs besides marijuana.

The study also says 17.5 percent say their last sexual intercourse was unprotected, 17.6 percent say they had suicidal thoughts or plans, 16 percent report abnormal weight loss behavior, 16.6 percent report no exercise in the last week, 8.2 percent report being a frequent smoker and 20.3 percent report using another drug than marijuana in the past month.

Harriette Fox, chief executive officer of the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health, says the analysis finds that many of the risk behaviors are co-occurring -- more than half of students report engaging in two or more risk behaviors, while nearly one-quarter engaged in four or more risk behaviors.

The publication is available at the Web site: TheNationalAlliance.org.

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