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New CDC research: The timing problem with sex education

The CDC states about one in four teen births is to a young woman between the ages of 15 and 17.
The CDC states about one in four teen births is to a young woman between the ages of 15 and 17.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when it comes to educating teens about sex, timing is everything.

A report released on Tuesday by researchers from the CDC shows that among sexually experienced teen girls, 83% told interviewers that they didn't get formal sex education until after they’d lost their virginity.

Although 91% of young women between the ages of 15 and 17 said they’d taken a formal sex education class, and 76 % of girls in the age group had discussed information about birth control or ways to say no to sex with their parents, the issue of timing played a major role.

The alarming factor remains that most sexually active young girls did not get informed about abstinence or birth control until after they’d had sex.

Researchers stated that this definitely “represents a missed opportunity to introduce medically accurate information.”

Researchers also noted concern from public health experts about births to younger teens because these mothers “are at greatest risk for poor medical, social, and economic outcomes.”

The CDC states about one in four teen births is to a young woman between the ages of 15 and 17, which amounts to nearly 1,700 babies born to mothers in this age group every week.