INDEPENDENT NEWS

Sex Education A Matter Of Urgency

Published: Thu 11 Dec 2003 02:23 PM
Sex Education A Matter Of Urgency
New Zealand First is repeating its call for immediate Government action following predictions from New Zealand and British specialists that today’s Western teenagers could become the fattest, sickest and least fertile in history.
“New Zealand faces similar problems to those identified by an Adolescent Health report issued by the British Medical Association. The BMA urged the British Government to aim more health services at teenagers to combat problems caused by their eating, drinking, sexual, drug-taking and smoking habits, said Barbara Stewart, New Zealand First’s spokesperson for Family Issues.
“Today’s teenagers are bombarded with information about the dangers of unhealthy food, smoking, drugs and unsafe sex but the situation is not improving. This raises the question of whether the information is actually getting through to them.
“One of the most urgent problems is the growing rate of chlamydia infection. A public education campaign is urgently needed aimed at 12 to 18 year olds. The use of television advertising, especially on the music channels, printed advertisements in the teenage magazines and cartoon advertisements shown before teen movies would be effective ways of getting the message across, said Mrs Stewart.
“One Wellington secondary school reserves a free appointment for pupils every day at a nearby medical centre and this is an option worth considering. Teens see the Family Planning Association as confidential, free and non-judgemental and more use of their services could be promoted.
“The risky behaviour indulged in by many teenagers is also aggravated by easy access to alcohol and drugs. The lowering of the drinking age has done nothing to improve the situation and we should be re-examining that decision. In the meantime let’s see some action towards better communication with our teenagers, said Mrs Stewart.

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