The Kids Are More Than All Right, Says Report

7885047912_7c0cf4ef9c_zDo you believe the children are our future? Are you prepared to let them lead the way? According to an epic CDC report on the state of health in America, you probably ought to.

While it can feel as if the horrors of teenage sex, drugs, and alcohol are at an all-time high, the CDC has some good news: today’s teens are better behaved than ever (and certainly better behaved than we ever were).

Case in point, teens and pregnancy. Thirty percent of our teens ages 15 to 19 are using contraception whilst doin’ it. While I agree that statistic remains a solid 70 percent too low, teens have gotten a lot smarter about protecting themselves from unplanned pregnancy since 1985. In a related happy factoid, fewer teens across all racial and ethnic groups are having babies and birth rates have declined a whopping 39 percent for teens ages 15-17 and nearly one-third for young women, ages 18-19. Yeah, baby!

Moving on to smoking, drinking, and drugging. High school seniors – that troublesome brunch many assume reek of wild times and bad decisions – are partying cleaner than ever before. Not only are male students smoking 8.1 percent less since 2002, female students are smoking 11 percent less – put that in your imaginary pipe and don’t smoke it!

When it comes to alcohol, the CDC reports that as of 2010, underage drinking by 12th graders had decreased by nearly 30 percent since 1980 – non-alcoholic cheers to that! Also on the decline since hard-partying 1980 are marijuana and cocaine use.

Now that we’ve covered the sex/drugs/drinking trifecta of parental concern, let’s talk motor safety. While motor vehicle-related deaths unfortunately remain higher for young people aged 15–24 compared to other age groups, motor-vehicle related deaths in males ages 15-19 declined by nearly half from 2000 to 2010.

So what say you, parents? Does the CDC report make you feel better about the state of our youth? 

Image credit: Flickr/Petra

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