Medliorate

Improving medical students

On Teen Pregnancy

Posted by medliorator on June 28, 2008

Kenneth F. Trofatter, Jr., MD, PhD…

We live in times when there has never in the history of humans been a greater disparity between the age of puberty and the social and economic demands that allow us to survive productively in this world. That also means that children are now reaching the age of ‘reproductive maturity’ when they are least likely to be in a position to control impulses, to understand the consequences of, and to make sensible decisions (or to resist sexual overtures of older and more experienced males) related to, sexual activity. The consequences are not only pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease but, in most cases, as has been shown repeatedly in the past, a loss of lifetime opportunities for success, a life spent in poverty, poor health, a long history of dependency on social welfare, limited access to an adequate health care system, and the high likelihood that their inheritance to their children will be a life similar to theirs.

Abstinence-alone efforts have also failed as a widespread approach and are practically meaningless anyway to children at the age at which they are now reaching puberty. There is growing data to support that teaching about contraception is “not associated with increased risk of adolescent sexual activity or STD. Adolescents who received comprehensive sex education had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education (Kohler, et al., J Adolesc Health 2008;42:344-51).” But, all this needs to be presented in a program of ongoing education and practical incentivization. “The most expedient way to strengthen the impact of pregnancy prevention programs on adolescent childbearing is to shift the focus of intervention …to helping young women develop goals that make adolescent childbearing a threat to what they want in life. This means intervening actively enough to ensure that goal setting translates into an internal desire to postpone childbearing beyond adolescence (Sheeder, et al., Matern Child Health J 2008: epub May 16).”

Teen Pregnancy: We ARE Failing our Children [Healthline]

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