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Homosexual Teens More Likely to Engage in Risky Behavior

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A high school student's sexual orientation may indicate whether or not the teenager is more likely to engage in risky behavior, according to a study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Analyzing data from students in grades nine through 12 between 2001 and 2009, researchers found that teens who reported being gay, lesbian, or bisexual were more likely than their heterosexual classmates to put themselves in harm's way, taking part in more than half of the 10 health risk categories the CDC measured.

Specifically, gay or lesbian students were more likely to engage in risky behaviors listed under seven of the 10 categories -- behaviors that contribute to violence, behaviors related to attempted suicide, tobacco use, alcohol use, other drug use, sexual behaviors, and weight management.

Bisexual students were also more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to engage in behaviors listed under the same seven categories as gay and lesbian students, with the addition of one category -- behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries.

"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," said Howell Wechsler, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.  "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."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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