Background to the Study
Health risk behaviours among adolescents is a major health concern globally. This is because these behaviours are associated with serious life-threatening consequences among adolescents in both developed and developing nations, including Nigeria. The impact of health risk behaviours (HRBs) on health is of such magnitude that it has become one of the priorities of national and international health organizations, Rutter and Quine, in Baban & Cracium (2007). These organizations have been initiating programmes with a view to curbing this menace globally.
The global estimates of some identified risk behaviours of significance to warrant global concern include, suicide with a prevalence of 7.4 per 100,000 (Wasserman, Cheng, & Jiang, 2005), 185 million drug abusers and 2 billion alcohol users globally (WHO, 2002). According to Onifade, Somoye, Ogunwobi, Ogunwale, Akinhanmi and Adamson (2011), Nigeria has the highest one-year prevalence rate of Cannabis use (14.3%) in Africa. Although, data on drug abuse in Nigeria are sparse, some existing studies show 290 drug abusers in Enugu (Igwe, Ngozi, Ejiofor, Emechebe, & Ibe, 2009), 7.8 per cent in a study in Sokoto, 47 per cent in Ilorin (Oshodi, Aina & Onajole, 2010) and that 149 drug related arrests were made by National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) between 2011-2012 in Jigawa State (Akubo, 2012). Regarding risky sex practices, 34 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS globally, with 22.9 million in Sub–Saharan Africa and 3.3 million in Nigeria (Avert International, 2010). Death as a result of physical inactivity (WHO, 2013) and unhealthy nutrition accounts for 3.2 million and 1.7 million death yearly respectifully (World Heart Federation, 2013). The aforementioned statistics are some indicators to the growing global health challenges, which mostly occur through health risk behaviours of adolescent.
Health is a state, condition or level of functional efficiency of an individual. World Health Organization, WHO (1946) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. According to American Nurses Association, health is a dynamic state of wellbeing in which the development and behavioural potentials of an individual is realized to the fullest extent possible (Davies &
Janosik, 1991). Pender (1996) defined health as positive dynamic state not merely the absence of disease. Flora and Lang (1982) asserted that health can be seen as a dynamic state, or condition of the body that has qualitative and quantitative measurable aspects, that are influenced by both internal and external environment of an individual. In this study, health refers to the dynamic measurable state, condition or quality of individuals’ wellbeing. The influence of internal and external environments brings about changes in individual’s health behaviour.
Behaviour refers to the responses of an organism to its environmental stimuli (both internal and external) (Nwachukwu, 1992). DeClemente, Hansen and Ponton (1997) asserted that problems of behaviour and risk- taking are part of normal adolescent development. They mentioned that behaviour can be positive or negative. Risk taking (exploratory behaviour) that is developmentally constructive, such as exercise, is considered positive behaviour while pathogenic behaviours refer to those behaviours that are negative, and are capable of causing harm to the body, such as HIV infection caused by unprotected sex. Ronald and Seymour (2007) defined behaviour as the actions or reactions of an object or organism to its environment. In this study, behaviour refers to the reactions of in-school adolescents within and around them in relation to their health. When behaviour relates to health it is referred to as health behaviour.
Health behaviours could be regarded as the way a living human being acts. Springer, Selwyn, and Kidder, (2006) perceived health behaviour as acceptable actions that positively influence the knowledge, attitude and practice of an individual in taking decisions regarding his or her health. Glanz, Rimer and Viswanath (2008) referred to health behaviour as the action of individual, group or organizations as well as their determinants, correlates and consequences, including social change, policy development and implementation, and improved coping skills that enhance quality of life.Health behaviour as used in this study, refers to actions that positively or negatively influence the practice and attitude of in-school adolescents in taking decisions regarding their physical, social and mental health. Actions that negatively influence individuals’ attitude could expose them to many risks.