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Wednesday 19th June 2019

Bisexual students take more risks

7th June 2011

A US government study has found that bisexual or gay high-school students are more likely to engage in risky behaviours like smoking or drinking that their heterosexual counterparts.


Released this week, the study was based on anonymous surveys of 186,000 high-school students and was carried out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Participants were asked about the kind of risky behaviour they engaged in, including riding a bicycle without a helmet, using drugs and attempting suicide.

In more than half of the risk categorie, gay, lesbian and bisexual students reported riskier behaviour than their hetersexual peers.

However, survey questions did not address motivation for the behaviours reported.

The study is not the first to make such a link, but it is the largest to date.

Lead author Laura Kann of the CDC's division of adolescent and school health, reported that 20-48% of gay and bisexual students said they smoked cigarettes, compared with 8-19% of heterosexual students.

Meanwhile, 15-34% of gay, lesbian or bisexual students said they had attempted suicide in the past year, compared with 4-10% of heterosexuals.

The range of percentages shows a variation from site to site. Surveys were carried out in Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as Boston, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

Other risky behaviours more prevelent among non-heterosexuals included throwing up or using laxatives to stay thin.

The results, which are not considered nationally representative, were presented at a summit for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in Washington, the first of its kind.

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