MAKING the right choices for the future sounds like a tall order. Not at all, if it concerns your health for the rest of your life. ''A healthy and long life begins with the choices you make,'' said the Director of Hongkong Adventist Hospital's Health Promotion and Wellness Department, Dr John Irvine. The professional advice is teenagers need to make ''wise nutritional-valued'' decisions now. ''Most teenagers think they are so healthy that they need not worry for another 40 years. But beginning with bad habits mean taking themselves onto the road of bad health,'' Dr Irvine warned. He said the teenage years were those where students made up their minds on what type of lifestyle they would adopt for the rest of their adulthood. Hence a conducive school environment is important. ''If the school sells unhealthy things in the tuckshops, it is not reflecting a good health message.'' Then on top of the school factor, parents should also be challenged to think of themselves as role models. ''One of the greatest legacies they can give to the children is healthy habits,'' Dr Irvine said. He said his impression was that students were ''quite well aware of the issues, fairly well read and well informed''. Nevertheless, Dr Irvine would like to see more health officers teach in primary and secondary schools. ''In public schools, health is taught mostly by physical education teachers.'' He said he would urge for programmes in tertiary institutions to train potential health officers. He said good health of a person was not restricted to the individual because when a person was ill, ''most of us pay for the hospital bill via taxes''. According to Dr Irvine, there were three issues that were vitally important to students as far as health was concerned. Firstly, students had to deal with stress which if not properly dealt with could lead to suicide. Then, there was the possibility of contracting the AIDS virus and finally teenage alcoholism and smoking. He said he would also embark on a research project on the lifestyle of teenagers and how these affected their health. ''Diseases we are all struggling with are those of the lifestyle and not something infectious,'' Dr Irvine said. Knowing more about these could in turn promote a preventive health care programme.