A recent paper published in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health takes a look at the relationship between sex education in adolescents and later sexual behaviour. The researchers focused on three specific factors: whether the subject ever had sexual intercourse, the age when the first episode of sexual intercourse occurred, and whether birth control was used. Data was collected from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth to provide a nationwide sample. The respondents included 2019 never-married males and females aged 15-19 years. Statistical analysis of the data collected found that receiving sex education was associated with not having had sexual intercourse among males and postponing sexual intercourse until age 15 for both females and males. Males attending school who had received sex education were also more likely to use birth control the first time they had sexual intercourse. No association was found for females concerning sex education and birth control use. The results were found to vary depending on socioeconomic and demographic factors. Based on these results, the authors concluded that formal sex education enables youths to learn to make healthy and informed decisions about sex and can effectively reduce adolescent sexual risk behaviors when provided before sexual initiation. Sex education was found to be particularly important for subgroups that are traditionally at high risk for early initiation of sex and for contracting sexually transmitted diseases.