April 22, 2011

British Teen Girls Have Highest Binging Rate In Western World

In the past ten years, the proportion of British girls aged 16 to 24 who admit to binge drinking, or having at least six drinks in succession, has increased to 27% from 17%, think-tank Demos reports from data collected by YouGov.

At least half of 15-year-old girls have been drunk at least twice "“ this is almost double to the average for other developed countries.

For every three 13-year-old girls, one has been drunk at least twice. This rate is higher than any other country from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which includes all of Europe and North America, reports the Telegraph.

And at almost double the OECD average of 29%, 50% of 15-year-old girls have been drunk at least twice.

More times than not, British teenagers claim that they expect "positive consequences" from drinking, and such feelings as relaxation and "forgetting my problems," reports Mail Online.

More than one-fourth of 16 and 17-year-old girls claim they drink to lift their spirits and cheer them up.

This might be the cause of why there have been a high number of teenage pregnancies and bullying, suggests Demos.

One out of nine girls have had unprotected sex and the same proportion, about 11%, say that they regret having had sex later.

Britain has the fourth largest rate of teen pregnancy in the OECD. And Demos suggests that this might be the reason for the pregnancies.

Demos also cites research that shows one in every five girls aged 16 years has reported being "bullied, called names, sworn at or insulted" in the past year.

Almost two-thirds of girls ages 16 to 19 report that bullying is one of the "main causes of stress" among girls their age.

In addition, girls between the ages of 11 and 21 reported that they have drank so much that they have either lost control or threw up.

"Ministers need to address the underlying problems of low self-esteem and poor parenting during younger girls' early years, rather than just preach to teenage girls about drinking responsibly," says the author of the report Richard Darlington to the Daily Mail.

He also says, "Criticizing industry for enticing underage drinkers is only addressing the "supply side" of the problem. Ministers need to address the underlying problems of low self-esteem and poor parenting during younger girls' early years, rather than just preach to teenage girls about drinking responsibly."

Director of the Family Education Trust Norman Wells says that the collapse of traditional families has left young women "deprived of the moral direction they need".

"Heavy drinking is often resorted to as an escape mechanism when people feel they cannot cope with the pressures they are subjected to," he told the Daily Mail.

"It is a problem which needs to be set in the context of high levels of family breakdown which have left growing numbers of young people without the support of both a father and a mother and wider family networks."

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, told the British newspaper, "There have been big rises in the numbers admitted to A&E and girls are much more vulnerable to sex attacks when they're drunk."

"Ministers need to tackle this issue urgently," he says.

"We need to see a ban on alcohol adverts on TV and a ban on the marketing of drinks such as alcopops on the internet."

"These findings are further proof that Labor got it very wrong on alcohol," Home Secretary Theresa May, who is also minister for women, says.

"The so-called caf© culture they envisaged with pubs opening later merely led to more of our teens binge drinking. Our towns and cities have become no-go areas in some places and it has got to stop.

This government is taking decisive action to put an end to Labor's binge drinking shame by giving more powers to police and local councils to crack down on the problem," May says.

Tim Loughton and Sarah Teather, the ministers who are responsible for children and families are preparing a youth policy paper that will be publish this summer, and will be receiving the survey collected by YouGov and reported by Demos to help with their assessments.


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