In Brief

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TEEN PARENTS While U.S. teens are no more likely to be sexually active than their European or Canadian counterparts, they are much more likely to become parents. The birth rate for American teens last year was 48.7 births for every 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19. By contrast the birth rates in France and Sweden were 10 births per 1,000. A new study from the Alan Guttmacher Institute finds that sexually active American teens are far less likely to use birth control than their foreign peers and less likely to have an abortion.

MARITAL INFLUENCE The behavior of parents toward each other can have lasting effects on their kids, according to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Researchers at Penn State found that parents who are jealous, moody, volatile, critical or prone to dominate their spouse have a far worse effect on their child's future marriage than parents who divorce.

ELDER DIETS Many elderly Americans will not get enough to eat this holiday season because they lack the mobility to prepare their own meals, according to a study at Cornell University. Others will not be able to afford nutritionally adequate meals. Researchers found that the elderly tend to consume fewer calories than younger people and less of the 18 important nutrients, particularly protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B-6 and B-12, and niacin.