Survey: Increased Health Risks for Gay Teens
CDC Study Shows Gay High School Students Are More Likely to Smoke and Use Drugs
Promoting Healthy Environments for All continued...
National, state and local surveys are conducted every two years among high school students in the U.S. to monitor risks to health and behaviors like smoking, drinking, and violence. The surveys also monitor obesity and asthma.
Other key findings of the study, reported in the June 6 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:
- 90.3% to 93.6% of youths identified themselves as heterosexual, compared to 1% to 2.6% gay or lesbian. Bisexual youths made up between 2.9% and 5.2% of the study population.
- 1.3% to 4.7% of youths were not sure of their sexual identity.
- 37.2% to 60.9% of the students reported sexual contact only with the opposite sex.
- 30.4% to 59.3% of youths said they had had no sexual contact.
Behaviors Harmful to Health
The report also says the prevalence of heterosexual teens having rarely or never worn a seatbelt ranged from 7.1 % to 23.2%, compared to about 13.1% to 35.8%% among gay and lesbian students and 11.3 to 28.8%% among bisexual youths. The numbers varied slightly depending on states and regions.
- Across nine study sites, 12.7% to 36.3% of heterosexual students reported currently smoking cigarettes, compared to 20.3% to 48.2% of gay and lesbian students and 26.1% to 49.2% of bisexual students.
- Across eight study sites, the prevalence of having carried a weapon on at least one day during the 30 days before the survey was lower among heterosexual than gay or lesbian students in five sites, lower among heterosexual than bisexual students in eight sites, and lower among heterosexual than unsure students in two sites.
- Across nine study sites, the prevalence of having been in a physical fight was lower among heterosexual than gay or lesbian students in seven sites, lower among heterosexual than bisexual students in eight sites, and lower among heterosexual than unsure students in five sites.
- Across 12 study sites, the prevalence of heterosexual students who had made a suicide plan ranged from 9.8% to 18.7%, compared to 11.4% to 32.5% among gay and lesbian students and 26.3% to 48.8% among bisexual students.