A recent national study of American high school students finds that those who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to take unhealthy risks.
The study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used national survey data from 2001-2009. It found that rates of smoking, drinking or other drug use, risky sexual behaviors, suicidal behaviors and violence were higher among gay or bisexual teens than among their straight peers
“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. Any effort to promote adolescent health and safety must take into account the additional stressors these youth experience because of their sexual orientation, such as stigma, discrimination and victimization,” Howell Wechsler, director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), said in an agency news release. “We are very concerned that these students face such dramatic disparities for so many different health risks.”