to a report released Monday by the government, gay, lesbian and
bisexual students are more likely to participate in risky behaviors,
including attempting to commit suicide.
The study conducted by the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention found higher rates of risky
behavior among American high school students who identify as gay,
lesbian or bisexual.
“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,” Howell Wechsler,
director of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, said in a
“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. We are very concerned that
these students face such dramatic disparities for so many different
The CDC used national survey data
collected from five states – Delaware, Maine, Vermont,
Massachusetts and Rhode Island – and four large city school systems
– Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco – between 2001 –
It found that gay and bisexual students
were more likely to smoke, abuse drugs and throw up or use laxatives
to control their weight.
As many as 34% of gay, lesbian and
bisexual students said they attempted suicide in the previous 12
months, compared to 10% percent of their heterosexual counterparts.
“Many risk behaviors are related to
how people feel about themselves and the environment they're in,”
Laura Kann, the study's lead author, told the AP.