How much should we being telling teenagers about sex? New research suggests giving adolescents information about birth control may dramatically reduce the risk of teen pregnancy.
Researchers from the University of Washington examined results from a national survey of more than 1700 adolescents. Two-thirds of the teenagers reported receiving complete sex education, a quarter said they had received "abstinence only" classes, and 9 percent had no sex education at all.
Results showed those with the most comprehensive sex ed classes were 60 PERCENT less likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone than those who received NO sexual education. There was a modest trend toward reduced risk of pregnancy among kids who had abstinence only classes, but there were too few teenagers in these groups to allow for a meaningful comparison.
Another trend suggested teens who attended comprehensive classes were less likely to have sex - a finding researchers did NOT see for those who had abstinence only education. Experts say these results show that kids who have the MOST information about sex tend to make the best decisions.
This information is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. What do you think? Should we be explaining the different forms of birth control to kids in middle school and high school freshman? Do you know any young girls who have gotten pregnant?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall teenage pregnancy rate for 2002 was estimated at 76.4 pregnancies per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years, down 10 percent from 2000.