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CDC Releases study on Health-Risk Behaviors among sexual minority youth

CDC Releases study on Health-Risk Behaviors among sexual minority youth

Brad Sickels

SPSSI Administrative Assistant

The CDC has released a new study entitled, “Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12 – Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009”

The study identifies risky behaviors to which teens are uniquely susceptible. They are:

-attempted suicide
-substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol and other drugs)
-risky sexual behavior
-risks that contribute to violence
-risks that contribute to unintentional injuries
-harmful dietary habits
-weight management problems

Self-identifying gay or lesbian teenagers are 63.8% more likely to engage in these behaviors than those who identify as heterosexual. Among students identifying as bisexual, the prevalence measured 76% higher than those identifying as heterosexual. These figures illustrate that sexual minorities are much more likely to engage in dangerous health-risk behaviors than other students in their age range.  Family-rejection, bullying, homophobia and social stigma have been identified as possible contributions to these risky behaviors.  

Authors of this study call for effective health policies at the local/state level to aid in reducing these health-risk behaviors and improve overall health outcomes for LGBT youth. Efforts to promote teen health should take into account the extra stressors that youth face as a result of their sexual orientation.  

In addition, the authors advocate for the inclusion of questions on sex identity and sex of sexual partners in similar surveys and studies that attempt to measure health-risk behaviors among youth.

For more information, visit the CDC Division on Adolescent and School Health.

To view the study “Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts…”please click here.

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