The United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. It’s also consistently among the most overweight countries.
These two seemingly unrelated facts are actually intertwined by a ridiculous practice called abstinence-only education. In fact, given its prevalence among Americans, one could say our portliness portends our teen pregnancy rate.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, more than two of every three adults in the U.S. is either obese or overweight, and better than one in three is medically obese.
Mind you, these are adults. Not children who have limited control over what’s put on the plate in front of them. Not kids who don’t understand basic nutrition. We’re talking about adults with supposedly fully developed prefrontal cortexes — the area of the brain responsible for judgment and reason — who consistently and willingly consume unhealthy foods despite fully knowing the negative repercussions doing so will have on their health.
Teenagers, meanwhile, have raging sex hormones coursing through their bodies and their still-developing brains. Unlike in the adult brain, the adolescent prefrontal cortex is woefully lacking in the judgment department.
Ever wonder why teenagers pay the highest automotive insurance premiums? It’s because they suck at making quality decisions because their brains are still maturing, especially the part that helps them foresee consequences to their actions.
Yet, we still have a large group of people — many of whom belong to the overweight/obese adult population — who insist that, instead of teaching teens a comprehensive curriculum about reproductive health, birth control, and safe sex, kids should only be taught to say “no” to sex.
Just say no to sex? Hell, we can’t even get them to say no to texting and driving. And their bodies don’t even produce texting hormones.
It never ceases to amaze me that supposedly clear-thinking adults — and not-so-clear-thinking politicians — honestly believe kids will not engage in sexual behavior simply because they’ve been told not to engage in sexual behavior. I suspect there’s nary a doctor out there naive enough to honestly believe all of his or her patients will not eat artery-clogging foods simply because they’ve been told by their physician not to eat artery-clogging foods.
Still, there are doctors who espouse abstinence-only education. One of them, in fact, was elected to the U.S. Senate here in Louisiana in 2014. Moreover, Sen. Bill Cassidy’s wife also is a medical doctor. The two of them became proud grandparents, courtesy of their then-high-school-aged daughter.
A little further north, America’s unmarried patron saint of abstinence-only education is the mother of two small children. Despite having a newborn, a 7-year-old child, no husband, and no sense of irony, Bristol Palin continues to be arguably the country’s most prominent advocate for kids to just say no to intercourse.
Even without these two notable anecdotes, there’s plenty of proof out there to show abstinence-only education simply does not work. Just look around at all the huge bellies in this country. No, I’m not talking about the pregnant bellies of teenage girls, although that does nothing to minimize my argument.
I’m referring to the countless distended abdomens hanging over the beltlines of mature American men and women you see every day. I’m talking about all the asses too wide to fit in a single seat in a sports arena or airplane. The proof is in the myriad Wal-Mart scooters being ridden right now by people whose only handicap is the inability to see their feet.
You see overweight people all over the place in this nation. With a few rare exceptions due to debilitating medical conditions, you know they got that way by ignoring their better judgment, preferring instead to satisfy their baser urge to eat decadently.
Yet millions of Americans see these people — many by simply looking in a mirror — who can’t control themselves around food and still think sexually impelled teenagers can control themselves around other sexually impelled teenagers. I would say it’s an exercise in intellectual dishonesty, but obesity and exercise rarely go together.
Parents who ascribe to the notion of abstinence-only education are apparently so hung up on sex they’re willing to delude themselves into thinking that simply telling their horny, puberty-aged kids to abstain from sex will produce the desired results. Because if there’s one thing teenagers are known for, it’s listening to their parents.
“But, Jeremy, God will help them resist the temptation to fornicate.”
Right, because He’s doing such a bang-up job helping millions of devout Christians resist the temptation of consuming 5,000-plus calories every day.
Again, these are adults with supposedly mature judgment chronically giving in to their carnal urges. Meanwhile, kids are expected to not give in to their undoubtedly stronger carnal urges.
Furthermore, I’d venture to say the average adult has a much better understanding of what leads to obesity than the average 13-year-old has about what leads to pregnancy.
Am I fat-shaming fat people? No. To be clear, I’m only fat-shaming fat people who think they can sex-shame their kids into not having sex because they don’t want anyone teaching them about safe sex and birth control. As for non-fat people who advocate for abstinence-only education, I’m using fat people to show how stupid that idea is.
Republished from The Red Shtick.