Introduction: Research has linked educational risk to various risky health behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, risky sexual behaviors). This study builds upon this research by examining the link between additional health lifestyle indicators—nutritional risk factors, low sleep quantity, and low exercise frequency—and academic risk factors among a recent, nationally representative sample of adolescents. Methods: Data from the 7 most recent cohorts (2010–2016) of the Monitoring the Future survey were analyzed in 2018 (n=45,757–46,206). A multistage random sampling technique was used to acquire the sample. Results: All examined risky health lifestyle indicators were associated with significantly greater odds of school disengagement and lower academic expectations. Youth were especially likely to exhibit educational risks when they engaged in multiple risky health behaviors. Each additional risky health lifestyle indicator conferred significant increases in the odds of every examined educational risk factor, with the odds of school disengagement increasing by a factor of 7.48 when youth engaged in 4 or more risky health behaviors (relative to none). Conclusions: Findings suggest that activities that promote adolescent health across multiple dimensions (i.e., nutrition, physical exercise, and sleep) may also promote academic engagement and expectations for future academic achievements.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health