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Sexually Charged TV Might Raise Risk of Teen Pregnancy
Date:11/3/2008

ound that those who watched the most sexual programming were still twice as likely to have gotten pregnant or gotten someone else pregnant since the start of the survey, compared to those who watched the least of that kind of programming.

The researchers declined to mention the TV shows that they considered to be sexually charged. Disclosing the shows would divert attention "from our core message that this kind of programming can have an impact on teen health, including pregnancy risk," Chandra stressed.

Overall, 14 percent of those in the survey reported getting pregnant or impregnating someone else after they were first interviewed.

The findings "add to the growing body of evidence that what children see on screen affects their behavior in real life," said Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington who studies kids and television.

"We know that children imitate the behavior they see on screen, and that makes these results much more credible," he said.

Still, it's possible that there's some other reason for the findings, he said, adding that "no one can be positive that there isn't some other explanation."

More information

Learn more about teen pregnancy from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Anita Chandra, Dr.P.H., researcher, Rand Corp., Arlington, Va.; Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., professor, pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle; November 2008, Pediatrics


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