The risky business of being a teen

By | November 23, 2015

One of the joys of being a teen, people keep telling you, is being carefree. Sure, there are tests, homework, grades, decisions, responsibilities. Sure, there are troubles in the world outside, but chances are that for you, they are rather remote.

But being a teen is not without risks. Accident statistics, recent health studies, and probably–at some time or another–your own personal experience, have shown that the teen years can be hazardous. The way you drive a car, are a passenger in a car, the things you eat and drink, the way you feel about yourself, and your everyday habits have a direct effect on your safety and health, both now and for the years to come.

teen healthy

Current Health 2 has put together this teen health risk appraisal. Go through it and answer the questions honestly. Your teacher will be able to give you a score sheet and a copy of the risk graph so that you can plot your own scores. It may help you get an even better handle on your future!

How safe are you?

1. How often do you wear your seat belt when riding in or driving a car?

A. Always or almost always (3)

B. More than half the time (2)

C. Only occasionally (less than 50 percent of the time) (1)

D. I never wear it. (0)

2. Do you ever ride with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or drive under the influence yourself?

A. No, never (3)

B. Yes, but rarely (2)

C. Yes, sometimes (1)

D. Yes, often (0)

3. If you drive a car, how often do you exceed the speed limit by 10 mph or more?

A. I never drive or ride with someone exceeding the limit by more than 10 mph. (3)

B. I rarely drive or ride with someone exceeding the limit by more than 10 mph. (2)

C. I sometimes drive or ride with someone exceeding the limit by 10 mph or more. (1)

D. I often drive or ride with someone exceeding the speed limit by 10 mph or more. (0)

4. If you are a passenger on or drive a motorcycle, how often do you wear a helmet?

A. Always or I don’t ride on or drive motorcycles (3)

B. Sometimes (2)

C. Rarely (1)

D. Never (0)

5. If you ride a bike, walk, or jog at night, how often do you wear light clothing or reflective clothing?

A. Always or I don’t ride, walk or jog at night (3)

B. Sometimes (2)

C. Rarely (1)

D. Never (0)

6. Have you ever been under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you were swimming or boating?

A. Never or I don’t swim or boat (3)

B. Once or twice (2)

C. A few times (1)

D. Frequently (0)

7. Which of the following describes your experience with hitchhiking?

A. I never hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. (3)

B. I seldom hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. (2)

C. I sometimes hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. (1)

D. I frequently hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers. (0)

What do you eat?

8. How often do you choose foods from the four food groups for each meal?

(The four food groups are: meat, which includes fish and poultry; milk; fruits and vegetables; and bread and cereal.)

A. Every day (3)

B. 5 to 6 days each week (2)

C. 2 to 4 days each week (1)

D. 0 to 1 day per week (0)

9. How many days in a typical week do you eat breakfast?

A. Every day (3)

B. 5 to 6 days per week (2)

C. 2 to 4 days per week (1)

D. 0 to 1 day per week (0)

10. How often do you snack on foods high in salt?

A. Never (3)

B. Seldom (2)

C. At least three times a week (1)

D. 4 to 5 times a week or more (0)

11. How often do you snack on foods high in sugar?

A. Never (3)

B. Seldom (2)

C. At least three times a week (1)

D. 4 to 5 times a week or more (0)

12. How often do you eat fried foods such as french fries and fried chicken?

A. Never (3)

B. Seldom (2)

C. At least three times a week (1)

D. 4 to 5 times a week or more (0)

13. Have you ever fasted or used diet pills to control your weight?

A. No (3)

B. Yes (0)

14. Have you ever vomited intentionally to control your weight?

A. No (3)

B. Yes (0)

15. Do you think you usually eat at least 1800 calories each day?

A. Yes (2)

B. No (1)

C. I don’t know (0)

What are your

daily health

habits?

16. How often do you brush your teeth?

A. Twice a day or more (3)

B. Once a day (2)

C. Every other day (1)

D. Less than every other day (0)

17. How often do you floss your teeth (which helps prevent gum disease)?

A. Once a day (4)

B. Once every other day (3)

C. Once a week (2)

D. Once a month (1)

E. I don’t floss my teeth. (0)

18. Have you seen a dentist in the last 12 months?

A. Yes (3)

B. No (0)

19. How often do you engage in aerobic activity for at least 20 minutes non-stop? (Aerobic activities include fast dancing, jogging, running, swimming, jumping rope, aerobic walking, or biking.)

A. Every day (4)

B. Three times a week (3)

C. One to two times a week (2)

D. Once every other week (1)

E. Never (0)

20. Do you get enough sleep and feel rested in the morning?

A. Yes, usually (2)

B. Yes, sometimes (1)

C. No (0)

21. Do you have your blood pressure checked yearly?

A. Yes (3)

B. No (0)

22. Do you do either breast or testicular self-exam?

A. Yes, monthly (4)

B. Every other month (3)

C. Every few months (2)

D. I would if I knew how to do it. (1)

E. I would not do it. (0)

How about

tobacco, drugs,

and alcohol?

23. Which statement best describes your smoking history and habits?

A. I have never smoked (other than once or twice to experiment). (4)

B. I used to smoke but I’ve quit. (3)

C. I smoke one pack per week or less. (2)

D. I smoke one-half to one pack per day. (1)

E. I smoke more than one pack per day. (0)

24. What statement best describes your chewing tobacco history?

A. I have never used it or tried it once. (3)

B. I use it about once a week. (2)

C. I use it more than once a week but not daily. (1)

D. I use it daily. (0)

25. Which statement best describes your alcohol consumption?

A. I do not drink or have quit. (4)

B. I drink once or twice a month. (3)

C. I drink one day a week. (2)

D. I drink two or three days a week. (1)

E. I drink more than three days a week. (0)

26. If you drink, how much do you consume on each occasion when you drink? (A drink is one beer, one glass of wine, or one mixed drink containing one 1-ounce shot and 5 ounces of mix.)

A. One to two drinks per occasion or I don’t drink (3)

B. Three to four drinks per occasion (2)

C. Five to six drinks per occasion (1)

D. Seven drinks or more per occasion (0)

27. Which of the following describes your use of marijuana?

A. I don’t use it or have quit. (3)

B. I use it once or twice a month. (2)

C. I use it one to two times a week. (1)

D. I use it three times a week or more. (0)

28. Which describes your use of other drugs, such as cocaine, LSD, narcotics, depressants, or stimulants?

A. I don’t use any of these drugs. (3)

B. I use drugs one to two times per month. (2)

C. I use drugs one to two times per week. (1)

D. I use drugs three to four times per week or more. (0)

29. Do you ever use other drugs and alcohol together?

A. No (3)

B. Seldom (2)

C. Sometimes (1)

D. Often or always (0)

A view of your

mental health

30. How often do you feel tense or anxious?

A. Never (4)

B. Occasionally (3)

C. Sometimes (2)

D. Frequently (1)

E. All the time (0)

31. In general, how satisfied are you with your life right now?

A. Very satisfied (4)

B. Mostly satisfied (3)

C. Somewhat satisfied (2)

D. Not satisfied at all (1)

E. Discouraged (0)

32. In the past six months, have you had feelings that life isn’t worth living?

A. No (4)

B. Yes, but rarely (3)

C. Yes, occasionally (2)

D. Yes, often (1)

E. Yes, daily (0)

33. Have you suffered a serious personal loss or misfortune in the past year?

A. No (3)

B. Yes, one (2)

C. Yes, two (1)

D. Yes, more than two (0)

34. How much control do you feel you have over your future?

A. A great deal (4)

B. Quite a bit (3)

C. Some control (2)

D. A little control (1)

E. No control (0)

35. When you feel under stress or discouraged, is there someone you feel you can talk to?

A. Yes, and I talk to them. (4)

B. Yes, and I usually talk to them. (3)

C. Yes, I talk with them about 50 percent of the time. (2)

D. Yes, but I don’t usually talk to them. (1)

E. No, there isn’t anyone, so I keep It inside. (0)

What do you know

about your health

history?

36. What is your family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart attacks and strokes?

A. No relatives have had CVD. (8)

B. One relative had CVD over age 60. (6)

C. Two relatives had CVD over age 60. (4)

D. One relative had CVD under age 60. (2)

E. Two or more relatives had CVD under age 60. (0)

37. What is your family history of breast cancer (girls only)?

A. No immediate family history of breast cancer (6)

B. Sister has had breast cancer (4)

C. Mother has had breast cancer (2)

D. Both mother and sister have had breast cancer (0)

38. What is your health history of diabetes?

A. No relatives have had diabetes. (8)

B. One relative has had diabetes (6)

C. Two relatives have had diabetes. (4)

D. Three relatives have had diabetes. (2)

E. Four or more relatives have had diabetes. (0)

See your score

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