Teenagers are often stereotyped as being impulsive, reckless, and prone to risky behavior. The reality is more nuanced — adolescents are generally less likely than adults to risk the contempt of their peers, for example. But the teen years are a time of dramatic change, and young people do tend to engage in risky behaviors as they encounter dangerous and unhealthy situations on their paths to adulthood.
In fact, from tragic accidents to poor decisions with unforeseen outcomes to the emotional trials of uncomfortable social situations, teenagers face a range of unique health risks. The pervasiveness of such risky behaviors among teens varies heavily by state.
Several factors often more prevalent in some states than in others can affect risky behavior. Household income, parental level of education, and the quality of schools and neighborhoods can all significantly affect the behaviors of teenagers and can have major impacts on health outcomes such as youth obesity, teen pregnancy, and, ultimately, youth mortality.
24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on several measures related to alcohol and other drug use, diet, weight control, physical activity, sexual behavior, tobacco use, and proneness to injury and violence with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. We listed the 12 states where high school students engage in the most risky behavior.