Health-risk behaviors among high school athletes and preventive services provided during sports physicals

Karen E. Johnson, Annie Laurie McRee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    Introduction: Preparticipation examinations (PPEs), or sports physicals, present opportunities for health care providers to identify and discuss common adolescent health-risk behaviors. We sought to examine the prevalence of health-risk behaviors among high school athletes and the proportion of providers who address these behaviors during PPEs. Method: For this descriptive study we used data from two statewide surveys: a survey of adolescents (n = 46,492) and a survey of nurse practitioners and physicians (n = 561). Results: The most prevalent risk behaviors reported by student athletes were low levels of physical activity (70%), bullying perpetration (41%), and alcohol use (41%). Most providers (≥75%) addressed many common risk behaviors during PPEs but fewer addressed bullying, violence, and prescription drug use. Topics discussed differed by provider type and patient population. Discussion: Many providers addressed critical threats to adolescent health during PPEs, but findings suggest potential disconnects between topics addressed during PPEs and behaviors of athletes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)17-27
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2015 National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.


    • Adolescent
    • Health education
    • Preventive services
    • Risk behavior
    • Sports

    PubMed: MeSH publication types

    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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