Teens Who Abstain Are Healthier

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Family First NZ is welcoming a new report from the USA showing that high school students who abstain from sexual activity rate significantly and consistently better in nearly all health-related behaviours and measures than their sexually active peers. The research 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 behaviours according to their self-reported sexual activity.

“This result is probably not surprising to many parents and educators, yet is denied or ignored by some groups who like to push so-called ‘safe sex’ and the flawed ‘love your condom’ type messages,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director for Family First NZ.

“The good news is that young people are increasingly rejecting the ‘you can’t control yourself, so here’s a condom’ and are choosing to abstain. The most recent Youth Survey (2012) from Auckland University revealed that less than 1-in-5 teens are currently sexually active. The ‘postponing sexual involvement’ message is getting through and resonating with young people.”

The CDC research loomed at the health disparities between three categories of students: abstaining (virginal), opposite sex active (OSA) and same-sex or bisexually active (SS/BA). Findings include:

Dating Violence: OSA teens are 260% more likely to experience some form of physical violence in dating relationships than virginal peers. SS/BA teens  683% more likely.

Smoking: OSA teens are 3,300% more likely to smoke daily than virginal peers. SS/BA teens 9,500% more likely.

Binge Drinking:  OSA teens are 337% more likely to ever binge drink than virginal peers. SS/BA teens 375% more likely.

Marijuana Use: OSA teens are 336% more likely to be currently using marijuana than virginal peers. SS/BA teens 483% more likely.

Injected and Illegal Drug: OSA teens are 500% times more likely to have ever injected a non-prescription drug than virginal peers. SS/BA teens 2333% more likely.

Felt Sad or Helpless: OSA teens are 48% more likely to report feeling sad or helpless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row, that they stopped doing some of their usual activities, compared to virginal peers. SS/BA teens 181% more likely.

Physical Fighting: OSA teens are 133% more likely to have been in a physical fight than virginal peers. SS/BA teens 187% more likely.

“These findings reiterate the view that postponing sexual involvement is in the best interest of our young people’s general health and well-being. Sexual activity at a young age has implications beyond just the physical act. Studies show that the biggest protective factors for coping with puberty and sexual involvement; are married and committed parents, family values, parental supervision and parental expectations for behaviour. What happens at home is the greatest determinant of the outcomes for the young person,” says Mr McCoskrie. “This latest research backs up the importance of the ‘wait’ message” —Media Release 30 November, 2016