Official figures have shown that the UK teenage pregnancy rate has experienced a marked decline. In England and Wales the figures are at their lowest since recorded records began.
The Office for National Statistics in England has released figures showing a decline of around 10% in the rate of pregnancies among under-18 females during 2012. The same has happened in Wales during the same period, with a decline of around 3% for 15-17 year old females.
These figures have been welcomed by most of the institutions involved in this section of healthcare. The under-18 conception rate has declined by 41% since 1998. It has shown reductions of up to 64% in certain top tier local authorities in the UK during the period since 1998. However, there have been regional variations which still show conception rates in certain areas of 90% above the average rate.
Public Health England has stated that this data is an indication that high conception rates can be lowered if young people received adequate support. They have linked the high incidences of teenage pregnancy with low education, poor mental health, poor physical health, poverty and social isolation and are in the hope that adequate support can maintain the downward trend.
One of the PHE advisors has stated that the constant dedication and investment that has taken place over the last decade has paid dividends. However, the conception rate for under-18s in England is still above that of other countries in Western Europe. She also said that it is necessary to find suitable systems and methods which will sustain the reductions and improve progress in the future.
Evidence has shown that it is necessary to provide young people with comprehensive relationship and sex education, both in and out of their school years. There should be easy access for young people to suitably targeted sexual health and contraceptive services. These services should be targeted at those who fall into the high risk category.
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