New survey reveals surprising insights into parental attitudes toward teenage sexual behavior

Blue Springs, MO August 11, 2004 As an estimated four million American children make the transition from junior high/middle school to high school this fall, a new national survey conducted by the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM) reveals parents' primary concerns as they ready their teenagers for the new school year. Not surprisingly, most parents (67 percent) reported that, to them, academics were the most important aspect of their adolescent's life. While nearly 60 percent of parents also reported they were concerned about the consequences of adolescent sexual behavior, the majority (84 percent) did not believe their own child was sexually active. Yet, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed that almost one-half* of ninth through 12th-graders have had sex, suggesting that parents may be hesitant to acknowledge that their teen could be sexually active and exposed to harmful diseases. To help raise awareness about the importance of adolescent health including sexual health SAM is launching a national campaign today to help educate parents on how to protect their teens from various health risks including hepatitis B.

"Hepatitis B, a highly contagious disease, is one of the diseases highschoolers could be exposed to through sexual contact, tattooing, body piercings, or contact sports," said Dr. Leslie Walker, director of the Section for Adolescent Medicine at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C. "While routine vaccination for hepatitis B for infants has occurred since 1991, many teens born prior to this date may have been missed. As such, SAM recommends that all teens be vaccinated against hepatitis B to catch up and ensure they are protected."

*46.7% of ninth through 12th-graders in public and private schools across the United States. CDC Department of Health and Human Services, National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2003.

When it comes to communication, most parents today (90 percent) reporte

Contact: April Starling
Cohn & Wolfe

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