Britain has world’s third highest proportion of sexually active teens.
UK also ranks badly among high-income nations for harmful teenage drinking, according to study in Lancet medical journal.
Britain has the third-highest proportion of teenagers who are sexually active at an early age and also ranks badly among high-income nations for harmful teenage drinking, according to a series of studies published in the Lancet medical journal on Tuesday.
The research, plus a report by Unicef, call for more attention to be paid to the changing needs of the young, warning they are at risk of mental and physical illness, vulnerable to unhealthy product marketing and that too many will die early.
The studies found neglect across the globe, including in affluent countries such as Britain and the US. Among 40 countries with broadly comparable data, England had the fourth-highest number of adolescents who had been drunk by the age of 13. Wales came fifth and Scotland eighth. Wales had the third-highest number of 15-year-olds who drank every week, with England fourth and Scotland again eighth.
For early adolescent deaths, Britain ranked in the middle of high-income countries. Worst was the US, because of a very high rate of violent deaths – 10 to 20 times above that of other developed countries. The US also had high binge-drinking rates (despite alcohol being prohibited for those under 21) and the top rate of cannabis use of all high-income countries with data.