Patterns of health-compromising behaviors among Minnesota adolescents: Sociodemographic variations

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Mary Story, Simone French, Nadav Cassuto, David R. Jacobs, Michael D. Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study compared prevalence rates of health-compromising behaviors among boys and girls from different ethnic backgrounds in early, middle, and late adolescence and compared co-occurrences of such behaviors across gender and ethnic groups. Methods. The study population included 123 132 adolescents in grades 6, 9, and 12. Adolescents completed a classroom- administered statewide survey focusing on high-risk behaviors, including unhealthy weight loss, substance abuse, suicide risk, delinquency, and sexual activity. Results. Prevalence rates of most health compromising behaviors differed by gender, increased with age, and tended to be highest among American Indian youth and lowest among Asian Americans. Strong associations were found between substance abuse and delinquency across all ethnic groups. Substance abuse and delinquency were associated with suicide risk across most ethnic groups. Covariations with sexual activity and unhealthy weight loss behaviors showed more ethnic variation. Conclusions. Prevention interventions should take into account the tendency for health-compromising behaviors to co-occur and should be sensitive to demographic and socioeconomic differences in behavior patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1606
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996


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