Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Study: Minority Youth Health May Improve With Better Schools

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that low-income Latino and black youth who attend high-performing schools tend to engage in fewer risky health behaviors.

Researchers surveyed 930 high school students in Los Angeles — 521 who by lottery gained admission to top charter schools, and 409 not offered admission. Researchers noted that both groups were similar in demographics and in performance on exams in the eighth grade.

They noticed that the students at higher-performing schools participated in few “very risky” behaviors such as binge drinking, drug use at school, risky sex, and gang participation. These students also saw improved math and English test performance and better school retention rates.

However, both groups had similar rates of participation in “risky” behavior such as drug and alcohol use.

Fox News Latino reported that researchers tried to achieve accuracy by having students fill out in private questionnaires on computers. Lead author Michael Wong, an internist and research at UCLA, told the news outlet that “better education will lead to better health.”