Britain's Teens Some Of The Most Sexually Active And Hardest Drinkers In The World, Says Report

25/04/2012 12:26 | Updated 22 May 2015
Teen drinkingRex
Teenagers look away now – it's time for another media kicking.

For that most widely-maligned of the human species – 13 to 15 year-olds – has come in for yet another attack, this time from a prominent medical journal.

It says that Britain has the third highest proportion of sexually active teenagers in the world as well as some of the worst levels of harmful underage drinking.

Lock up your daughters and sons – or should that be, "Lock up the drinks' cabinet"?

A study by the Lancet shows that youngsters are more at risk from binge drinking, drug taking and sexually transmitted diseases than ever before.

And it found that sexual activity among 13 to 15-year-olds was highest among girls in Denmark followed by Iceland, the UK and Sweden. Greece and Denmark had the highest rates among boys.

The lowest rates in boys were in Belgium, and for girls it was Israel. England had the fourth highest percentage of youngsters who have been drunk by the age of 13 in a league table of 40 mostly high income countries.

Wales was fifth and Scotland eighth. Wales was third for those drinking weekly at the age of 15, with England fourth and Scotland again eighth.

The figures were taken from 2006, the last year with internationally comparable data, with new estimates in the coming months set to provide an opportunity for the UK to assess whether policies to reduce harmful drinking among teenagers have had any impact over the past five years.

Eleanor Thompson, mum of a 15 year-old boy and 13 year-old girl, reacted to the report with raised eyebrows.

"Another day, another report slagging off teenagers," she told

"We know they're not angels – but they're not devils, either, but this constant negative press is turning them into demonic pariahs.

"You can make statistics say anything – wouldn't it be a refreshing change to see a survey that tells us about all the good things teens do?"

Do you think our teens drink more than you did at the same age? How about being sexually active? Or are the majority of teens in the UK hard-working, sorted and conscientious?


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