As if life isn't hard enough for them, the Centers for Disease Control on Monday reports that gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students are more prone to drug, alcohol and tobacco use.
The study (PDF) includes data from Southern California and indicates, according to a CDC statement that …
… gay or lesbian students had higher rates for seven of the 10 health risk categories (behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management).
Same goes for bisexual students, who “had higher prevalence rates for 57 percent to 86 percent of all health risks measured,” according to the CDC statement.
These kids often don't go to school out of fear of persecution, are more likely not to wear seatbelts, and are more prone to suicide attempts, the study claims.
The teens were also said to have used condoms at a much lower rate than heterosexuals (lesbian girls were omitted from the data), with usage as high as 72 percent for all kids and as low as 32 percent for bisexual students.
The study looked at “youth risk behavior surveys” from 2001-2009 in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin and in San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Chicago, and Milwaukee schools.
It's no surprise that people often treated as campus outcasts would act out with risky behavior. What's surprising is that we're just now noticing that we should deal with it.
Howell Wechsler, director of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health:
We are very concerned that these students face such dramatic disparities for so many different health risks … This report should be a wake-up call for families, schools and communities that we need to do a much better job of supporting these young people.