Disadvantaged teens who attend top schools might not only get an academic boost, but their health could benefit as well, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.
The study followed 1,000 low-income students grades 10 to 12 in Los Angeles, some of which were accepted to top charter schools through a lottery and others who went elsewhere.
Thirty-six percent of the selected kids engaged in at least one risky behavior compared with 42 percent of the other teens who went to worse schools.
Risky behavior includes binge-drinking alcohol, unsafe sexual relations and hard drug use.
The Los Angeles schools' lottery system selects students randomly, not on grades or other differences, so the study design "mimics a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard in health research," Kelli Komro, a professor of health outcomes and policy at the University of Florida said. Komro was not involved in the research study.