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:
? 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."