Fewer pregnancies occurred among high school teens in schools with more than 10 hours of nursing and doctor time per 100 students, finds a new study published online yesterday in the October 2012 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

This study suggests evidence of how school-based health centers can help to curb teen pregnancies and promote students achievements when healthy and present.

Researchers aimed to determine whether school-based health services are associated with better sexual and reproductive health among students, using nationally representative data from 9,107 students from 96 New Zealand high school schools. Students self-reported whether they were sexually active, how often they used condoms or contraception, and their involvement in pregnancy. In addition, school administrators completed questionnaires on their school-based health services, including doctor and nursing hours per week, team-based services and health screening. Researchers found that there were fewer pregnancies among students in schools with more than 10 hours of nursing and doctor time per 100 students.

The study’s authors stated, “Our findings suggest that school-based health services may be able to lower the incidence of pregnancy by providing access to comprehensive health services, including contraceptive care that is easily available and appropriate for the student population.”

This study suggests evidence of how school-based health centers can help to curb teen pregnancies and promote students achievements when healthy and present. View American Public Health Association’s Center for School, Health and Education online for more information on how these centers focus on the health and social factors that influence educational success and decrease school dropout.