Goody Two Shoes


The kids these days remain magnificent (albeit chubby) bastards, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From newly released survey results of 15,000 teenagers:

In 2003…:

? Forty-seven percent of students reported having had sex, down from 54 percent in 1991.

? The number who reported having had four or more sexual partners dipped to 14 percent in 2003 from 19 percent in 1991.

? And those who said they had used a condom the last time they had intercourse rose to 63 percent from 46 percent in 1991.

Smoking, which increased among teenagers during the mid-?90s, also has dropped off. The number of students who reported the habit increased to 36 percent in 1997 from 28 percent in 1991, but it fell to just over 20 percent by 2003.

Students who said they had drunk alcohol fell to 75 percent from 82 percent between 1991 and 2003.

So now that the kids aren't fucking, smoking, and drinking as much, what's left to complain about? Well, they may be eating too much:

The centers have kept track of trends in obesity and overweight among high school students only since 1999, said Dr. Joanne Grunbaum, a health scientist with the agency, but the latest figures reflect what is widely recognized as a growing problem. Almost 30 percent of students surveyed were overweight or at risk for becoming overweight, and roughly the same percentage did not take daily physical education classes.

In an interesting framing moment, the Washington Times headlined its report on the study thus: "More teen girls having sex, study shows," but even the conservative paper granted that most of the trends are going in the other direction.

The CDC report in full is online here. Like the Times, they too emphasized the negative in their press release headline: "Despite Improvements, Many High School Students Still Engaging in Risky Health Behaviors."

NEXT: Bum Customs

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  1. No matter the facts, it is always bad news for those with an axe to grind.

    The phrasing indicates the teens self-reported their behaviour. Maybe they’re lying about drinking and fucking because they’ve learned to mistrust adults asking questions. That they’ve become fatties is difficult to hide from the nannies with clipboards.

  2. I was a “goody two shoes” during my high school days. I bought into the anti-drug propaganda, I thought anyone who had pre-marital sex was going to go to Hell, but I did occasionally have a drink under my parents supervision.

    Today, I regret that I missed out on all the fun my peers where having.

  3. Mark Fox: {No matter the facts, it is always bad news for those with an axe to grind.}

    Axe-grinding is the original impetus. The main motivation for bad news is that unless your annual report concludes “Things are getting worse” you can’t follow it with “And we need more money to fix them.”

  4. Sooooooooooo, in theory if the students drank more,smoked more and had more sex they might not be overweight. Right?

  5. Rick,
    If they smoked less, they would weigh less. If they weighed less and drank more, they would have more sex. Simple causation. 🙂

    The true moral of the story is that no matter how things improve, there’s always a new scourge out there.

  6. That should be smoke more

  7. Perhaps the nation’s teens have finally eaten their way to physical repulsiveness, and thus opportunities for getting laid have diminished.

  8. How is this an improvement? 🙂

    I liked having sex, drinking and doing drugs in highschool.

  9. I’m still waiting for Bill Bennette et al to thank Bill Clinton for the moral improvements that happened during his years.

  10. You can’t trust statistics on sex. How is it that straight men consistently report having had more partners than straight women report? Obviously someone’s lying. I imagine the same applies for most of the rest of this report: changes over time may reflect changes in willingness to over- or understate the truth rather than any real change in behavior.

  11. A generation of heavy teens that aren’t smoking, drinking, or having sex?

    Sounds like a generation of teens identical to me back in high school. Believe me, the VERY LAST thing this country needs is more of me.


  12. More (equally relevant) stats:

    Eighty-seven percent of taxpayer-funded government agencies failed to mind their own business, down from up from 84 percent in 1991.

    The number of taxpayer-funded studies which recommended more taxpayer funding rose to 98 percent in 2003 from just 95 percent in 1991.

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