*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on The Federalist.
A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the first ever of its kind, examines a large and diverse array of high school students’ health behaviors according to their self-reported sexual activity.
What makes this report particularly interesting, beyond its categorization by sexual activity, is it examines widely varied safety and health behaviors from bike helmet and seat belt use to substance abuse, diet, doctor’s visits, exercise, and even tanning bed use. The report’s two major conclusions are quite stark:
- The virginal students rate significantly and consistently better in nearly all health-related behaviors and measures than their sexually active peers.
- Teens who have sexual contact with the same or both sexes have remarkably lower percentages of healthy behaviors overall than their heterosexually active peers.
An additional report conducted by Child Trends, a Washington DC-based think-tank focusing on children’s health, adds to the robust research literature on this topic. It finds that teens from homes where mother and father have a healthy relationship, both have warm, monitoring relationships with their children, and the family has regular, dependable schedules and practices at home are substantially less likely to be sexually active by every measure.
It’s difficult to determine from this CDC report alone just how the various data points that were measured are related to one another. Does sexual activity drive the increase in other negative health behaviors, or vice versa (if at all)? This data does not say. But the fact that the CDC measured all health behaviors by sexual activity and distributed it to health professionals around the world in this major report certainly indicates the relationships they studied are of important interest to health-care workers.
The findings should be very concerning to all parents and professionals concerned with our teens’ general health and well-being. The sexual choices and values our young people hold have real-life consequences far beyond sexuality itself. Thus, there are indeed compelling reasons to encourage teens to choose not to be sexually engaged with peers of the opposite or same-sex.
Source: The Federalist