The Importance of Evidence-Based Health Education
by WREN Staff on Feb 23, 2017
We are over a month into our 2017-2018 legislative session, and are eager to share our first piece of introduced legislation: the Healthy Youth Act.
This act would bring revisions to the outdated 1988 Comprehensive Health Education Act (CHEA) by ensuring the use of evidence-based, rigorously evaluated interventions, and by holding school districts accountable for teaching all mandated health education curriculum.
Studies have shown that young adults receiving comprehensive information about both abstinence and contraception are more likely to delay sexual activity. The more information that can be provided to students, the more educated their decisions will be. This update in the South Carolina curriculum will help lower high rates of unintended teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Currently, SC ranks 7th in the nation for chlamydia, 4th for gonorrhea, and 18th for syphilis.
Evidence-based health education is critical in order for young adults to defer peer pressure and make informed choices.
According to the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the 64% decrease in the teen birth rate since 1991 can be partially attributed to the over 30 comprehensive education programs being taught in our schools. Once ranked 13th in the nation for teen births in 2014, our state has seen significant progress in just a year’s time, now ranking 16th in the nation in 2015. These evidence-based, age-appropriate curricula, which are available to school districts, help our youth reach their fullest potential.
Despite the promising trends in teen births, many young people are still exhibiting risky behavior. Among students, 34.2% of 10th graders stated they had ever had sexual intercourse and this percentage increases to 57.4 among 12th-grade students. Furthermore, forty-one percent of high school students reported not using a condom the last time they had sex (according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey).This underscores the importance of comprehensive sexual health education that includes instructions on proper use of contraception for sexually active teens.
Two bills have been introduced that would ensure evidence-based curriculum be taught in South Carolina schools: the Healthy Youth Act: H.3663 and S.461. Click here to read more about WREN’s position on Comprehensive Reproductive Health Education, and click here to see a fact sheet on the Healthy Youth Act.
Tell your lawmaker that we must ensure consistency and accuracy in the delivery of information throughout our state. Sign our petition today and tell lawmakers that you support age-appropriate, evidence-based, health education programs.