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Training Abstinence Educators

Married People are Healthier

 Adults telling teenagers to hold off on sex before marriage is nothing new, but the high rate of STDs and pregnancy is prompting a growing number of people into abstinence education…

TRAINING ABSTINENCE EDUCATORS — Despite their passion, educators sometimes do not always have the information, resources and know-how to craft an effective message, and many are asking for help. FL state officials are responding to the demand by offering free training seminars throughout the state aimed at helping educators get informed.

“Abstinence educators want a level playing field,” said Vickie-Jean Mullins, director of the state’s abstinence education program. “They want the training that gives them the skills, the data and the approaches to be effective.”

The state’s abstinence program, which is based with the FL Department of Health, is offering a dozen training seminars in several FL cities this year. About 30 people turned out for an 8-hour training session in Sarasota, including youth group leaders, teen advocates and health educators.

State trainer Mike Worley, who also trains abstinence educators in 2 other states, reeled off statistics on STDs, discussed the federal guidelines that abstinence educators must follow and shared classroom activities that emphasize the consequences of premarital sex. To demonstrate the emotional consequences of premarital sex, he placed a strip of tape around the arm of one of the educators and then asked him to pull it off.

“Kids want to know about abstinence,” Worley told the abstinence educators. “When they have sex, they wish they hadn’t. We need to give them more information to help them wait.”

In FL, where school districts choose whether to discuss contraceptives in sex education classes, the number of abstinence educators is rising every year, Worley said.

The Florida Abstinence Educator Association has grown from 15 members in 2000 to 150 members. And as the demand rises, the federal government has pumped millions of dollars into programs that promote abstinence. [Excerpts from Christina Denardo The Herald Tribune, Florida, 20Feb05; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 23Feb05]


HEALTHY MARRIED PEOPLE U.S. gov’t study concludes it’s healthy to be married; overall, married people are sick less often & are more active. They smoke and drink less and in general feel better than single, divorced, never married, or cohabitors.

The report was based on a survey of 127,545 people in 1999-2002 conducted by the center. The study found that married people said they had less low back pain, fewer headaches and less psychological stress. Some 4.7% of adults reported they had become heavier drinkers than previously, with the lowest rate among marrieds [3.7%].

Again, those living with an unmarried partner exhibited the most drinking, 8.2%, followed by the divorced and separated, 6.4%. Overall the study found that 58.2% of adults are married, 10.4% are separated or divorced, 6.6 percent are widowed, 19% are never married and 5.7% are cohabiting. [National Ctr for Health Statistics statistician Charlotte Schoenborn AP;, 16Dec04]