Health

Smartphone sex and teen (OTC) drug abuse: In health news today

Oct. 30, 2012, 9:10 a.m.

Is there a connection between teens' having smartphones and teens' having sex? New research says yes. (William Hook/Flickr Creative Commons)


Is there a connection between teens' having smartphones and teens' having sex? According to HealthDay, new research indicates that teenagers with smartphones – that is, phones with Internet access – are more likely to have sex and meet other teens online for sex than teens whose phones don't have Web access. The exact nature of the relationship is unclear, but the study's co-author asserted smartphones are "one of the tools that risk-taking teens are going to use to take risks." Forty-seven percent of teen smartphone owners said they were sexually active, compared to 35 percent who didn't own a smartphone.

Yet another reason why bullying is bad: Both bully and his or her victim are more likely to abuse alcohol after a bullying episode, says new research that was presented at a meeting of the American Public Health Association. Study authors found that "school violent victimization" was associated with increased odds of recent alcohol abuse and heavy drinking among 7th- through 12th-graders. Students were one-and-a-half times more likely to abuse alcohol if they'd been bullied, and the bullies themselves engaged in similar drinking patterns.

Another study presented at the same APHA meeting found that a growing number of young people are turning to their parent's medicine cabinets to get high. The research found that 10 percent of students who participated in the study reported abusing over-the-counter drugs, which can result in unintentional overdoses, poisoning, seizures and addictions. Teen males were more likely risks than their female counterparts.

Research presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress put a more positive spin on peer pressure, and found that it can be used to increase kids' physical activity levels. "Peer mentors," as researchers called them, wielded a significant influence how much movement elementary school students got during their day, strengthening the notion that "social reasons for physical activity trump other influences for kids."

MedPage Today reports that overweight and obese teens are more likely to encounter kidney problems later in life, elevating the future risk of end-stage renal disease for overweight teenagers threefold – and sevenfold for obese teens. It's not a causal relationship (yet), but researchers still emphasized the importance of getting weight under control.

At a conference for the American Association for Cancer Research, researchers presented a study that indicated there are ethnic disparities in breast cancer survival, even after the patients' education level and socioeconomic status were taken into account. It's unclear why, and the findings necessitate further research, said the study's authors, so that health providers can intervene in the most effective way possible.

And finally: Banning indoor tobacco use from restaurants and workplaces has done nothing but good things for America's health, driving down the rate of heart attacks by one-third and the rate of sudden cardiac death by nearly 20 percent in one Minnesota county. The Los Angeles Times reports that banning smoking in restaurants alone wasn't enough to effect a discernible change – but banning it in bars and the workplace did. In an interesting, yet-to-be-fully-explained, potential side effect, those who smoke also seem to be smoking less than they used to.

Photo by William Hook via Flickr Creative Commons.

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