Troubled Teens Benefit from Attending Top Schools

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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.

 

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