• adolescence;
  • health behavior;
  • review

This review examined research relevant to adolescent health behavior in order to identify key behaviors and factors related to behaviors for targeting health-promoting interventions. The 34 studies reviewed sampled mainly Caucasian subjects ranging in age from 12 to 24 years. The majority of the studies were descriptive and cross-sectional, and they dealt with a specific health behavior or group of behaviors such as eating, sleeping, and exercise. Primary factors related to health behavior included gender, family structure, ethnicity, knowledge, and attitudes. Increased knowledge of factors that impact adolescent health behaviors is essential so that public health nurses (PHNs) and other health professionals can be more responsive to developmental and lifestyle factors influencing the health of youth within families and communities.