Variation ID'd in Rate of Sexual Onset Before 13 Among Boys

Likelihood of reporting sexual intercourse before 13 lower for boys whose mothers have college degree

MONDAY, April 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For boys, rates of sexual onset before age 13 years vary with race/ethnicity, location, and maternal education level, according to a study published online April 8 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Laura D. Lindberg, Ph.D., from the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, and colleagues used pooled 2011, 2013, and 2015 data from the school-based Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (19,916 male high school students) and data from the 2006 to 2015 household-based National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG; 7,739 boys and men aged 15 to 24 years) to estimate the prevalence of reporting sexual onset before age 13 years.

The researchers found that nationally, sexual onset before age 13 years was reported by 7.6 percent of male high school students and 3.6 percent of boys and men aged 15 to 24 years. Across metropolitan sites, there was variation in the proportion of male students who reported having sexual intercourse before age 13 years, from 5 percent in San Francisco to 25 percent in Memphis, Tennessee; in most metropolitan areas, the rates were elevated among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic males. Respondents in the NSFG dataset whose mothers had a college degree or higher educational level were statistically significantly less likely to report having sexual intercourse before age 13 years (odds ratio, 0.31).

"These findings may have major implications for the timing of sex education and sexual and reproductive health care," the authors write.

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