Halving Of England's Teenage Pregnancy Rate Attributed To Aggressive Government Strategy

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald May 24, 05:00 am

England's teenage pregnancy rate has been reduced by half thanks to resilient efforts from the government. Young people under 18 years old are staying away from early pregnancy more due to high-quality sex and relationships education.

A group of researchers from London analyzed data gathered from 148 local authority areas in England from two five-year periods: 1994 to 1998 and 2009 to 2013. The information displayed under-18 conceptions, abortions and birth rates that are linked with England's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, or TPS.

TPS was implemented in 1999 with the aim of reducing under-18 pregnancy rates by 50 percent. Between 1998 and 2013, conception rates among teenagers aged 15 to 17 years old have dropped to 25 pregnancies (from 47 counts in 1998) per 1000 young women living in deprived areas, Mirror reported.

England's TPS Should Be Emulated By Other Countries

Alison Hadley, who led TPS, said the World Health Organization is seeking her help on how to teach other countries to follow England's example in reducing teenage conception, the Guardian reported. The WHO said that few nations in the world attained the same success like England's TPS.

One of the reasons attributed to TPS' success is the generous length of time intended for the program. There's also the program's broad and multi-agency approach, which includes youth workers and social workers visiting schools and colleges. Thanks to effective education programs and easier access to contraceptives, young people are being encouraged to be more responsible and informed in their choices.

Adam Balen, who is from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) and chair of the British Fertility Society (BFS), said sex and relationships education doesn't just teach the youth to avoid pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It also teaches fertility and the appropriate time to start a family, Mirror further reported.

New data from the Office for National Statistics, or ONS, found under-18 conception rates in England were at its lowest in 2014 since 1969. Only 22.9 pregnancies per 1000 women aged 15 to 17 occurred in 2014, but that number is still isn't enough to bring England at par with the Netherlands and Scandinavia, according to Balen.

Teenage Pregnancy Rates In The US

The U.S. is also seeing reductions in teenage pregnancy rates. In 2014, conception rates among teens plummeted to more than 50 percent from 1991's high pregnancy number, Miami Herald reported.

That decrease the U.S. is experiencing can be attributed to teenagers waiting longer before becoming sexually active. Young people are also learning to use birth control methods effectively.

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