Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 52
Risky health behaviors such as illicit drug use, smoking, overconsumption of alcohol, violence, and early sexual activity have contemporaneous and intertemporal adverse health and economic outcomes. The health-related and economic costs to individuals and to society overall are particularly pronounced when adolescents are the ones engaging in one or more of such behaviors.
This paper uses longitudinal data from the Philippines (from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey) to examine the long-term impact of adolescents’ risky behaviors in 2002 (related to sex, tobacco, alcohol, and violence, but not drugs) on their economic outcomes in 2009 (related to participation in the labor force, educational attainment, and family formation). The results reveal that risky behaviors are most likely to affect educational outcomes. Teenagers who smoked at least one cigarette a day were 21% less likely to be in college several years later, and this difference was 17% for those who had an early sexual initiation, and 7% for those who consumed alcohol at least once a week. Labor outcomes were also adversely affected.