by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new study of teenagers who took part in a sexual abstinence campaign found they were significantly less likely to have sex or use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco than their peers. The groundbreaking study of junior high and middle school aged-girls appeared in the recent issue of the journal "Adolescent & Family Health."
Robert Lerner, Ph.D., authored the study of the popular Best Friends abstinence program currently operating in more than 100 schools across the United States.
The research showed girls in the Best Friends program were six and a half times less likely to have sex, about two times less likely to drink alcohol, eight times less likely to use drugs, and more than two times less likely to smoke, compared to their peers.
"Year after year, adolescent girls in our program have demonstrated that the Best Friends curriculum helps them make confident, healthy choices and reject sexual activity, alcohol, and drugs," said Elayne Bennett, president and founder of the Best Friends Foundation.
U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said he was "encouraged" by the study’s results which shows that the mentor-based abstinence program "inspires children to make healthy choices for life."
"Mentors can give young people the hope and guidance they seek to make life’s toughest decisions, including delaying sexual activity, eating a healthful diet, getting daily exercise, not smoking, and staying away from drugs and alcohol," Carmona said.
The study compared those involved in the Best Friends program with to the Washington, D.C. Youth Risk Behavior Surveys results.
Abstinence education has come under fire in recent months form abortion advocates who say it is ineffective and claim more state and federal taxpayer funds should be used to promote contraception.