CDC study: Gay, bisexual teens do riskier things

Monday, June 6, 2011 12:29 PM
Last updated 3:25 PM
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ATLANTA  — Gay and bisexual high school students are more likely than their heterosexual classmates to smoke, drink alcohol or do other risky things, according to a government study released today.

Based on anonymous surveys of 156,000 high school students, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study is the largest by the government to look at sexual orientation and behavior in teens. It echoes similar findings in some smaller studies.

Investigators asked about dozens of risky behaviors, ranging from not wearing a bicycle helmet, to drug use, to attempting suicide. Gay, lesbian and bisexual students reported worse behavior in half to 90 percent of the risk categories, depending on the survey site.

Why? CDC officials don't know for sure: The survey didn't ask kids why they smoked or attempted suicide or did other things that could be dangerous.

But gay, lesbian and bisexual students deal with stigma, disapproval and social rejection. "Many risk behaviors are related to how people feel about themselves and the environment they're in," noted the study's lead author, Laura Kann of the CDC's division of adolescent and school health.

The surveys are from 2001 through 2009. Some results, which vary by survey site:

  • About 8 percent to 19 percent of heterosexual students said they currently smoke cigarettes; 20 percent to 48 percent of gay and lesbian students smoked.
  • About 4 to 10 percent of heterosexual students said they attempted suicide in the previous year. For gay and lesbian students: 15 percent to 34 percent. For bisexual students: 21 percent to 32 percent.
  • About 3 percent to 6 percent of heterosexual students said they threw up or used laxatives to lose weight or stay thin. For gay and lesbian students: 13 percent to 20 percent. For bisexual students: 12 percent to 17.5 percent.

The core results came from surveys done in five states and four city school systems. The states were Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. Boston, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco rounded out the list.

The results are not considered nationally representative, but the research is larger and more geographically diverse than past studies. Kann presented the findings at a first-ever Department of Education summit for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in Washington.

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MJ-12 06/06/11 - 12:33 pm
Well maybe if they didn't

Well maybe if they didn't have religious nutjobs telling them they are less than human and not deserving of love because of who they are they wouldn't be self-medicating so much.

Donnie Fetter
Donnie Fetter 06/06/11 - 01:08 pm
The East Coast, West Coast,

The East Coast, West Coast, North and Midwest are all covered in this study, but no surveys were conducted in the South. That seems odd considering the CDC is based in Atlanta.

OhWell 06/06/11 - 01:18 pm
The CDC has bigger health

The CDC has bigger health issues than this. What does an individuals sexual preference have to do to do with substance abuse problems. We should be concerned with education to everyone not just grouping by sexual preference. Did they racially divide and do a study? No! Lets make sure help is available for troubled teens and not bring out their differences.

Farmboy 06/06/11 - 02:00 pm
I totally agree with MJ-12.

I totally agree with MJ-12. What can you expect someone to do? Granted there will always be exceptions, but I would think when people are made to live under the rock of society that this is what would happen. I have a difficult time trying to understand why anyone would find the information in this article surprising. Go ahead Christians, put your judgement caps on. Lets hear from you.

InChristLove 06/06/11 - 02:35 pm
MJ-12, If religious nutjobs

MJ-12, If religious nutjobs are telling those individuals who are gay, bi, or lesbians, that they are less than human and not loved, then I'd say they are most definitely nutjobs.

As for those Christians who follow the teachings of Christ, we have done a poor job of letting those who, according to our teachings, are living in sin but that Christ loves them and that they are valued. Christ mingled, ate, and associated with sinners every day but also taught us to go and sin no more. Sexual immorality from either end of the spectum, is a sin but does not make us inhuman, just sinners.

dougk 06/06/11 - 03:06 pm
Speaking of ....well, this

Speaking of ....well, this topic. What ever happened to Jennifer Keeton??

soldout 06/06/11 - 03:06 pm
no surprises; once the devil

no surprises; once the devil talks you into one sin the rest are easy. He is out to kill and destroy through the use of sin. Choose Jesus and a Holy life and let the weight of sin drop off and find true freedom, joy and peace. If you don't like Jesus the devil will always take you back.

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