Irish teen girls world's second worst binge drinkers, says studyTuesday, May 1st, 2012
Irish teenage girls have the second highest rate of binge drinking in the developed world, second only to those in the US, and the weakening of the traditional family is partly to blame, according to a new report.
The report, Health of the World's Adolescents, published in the medical journal, The Lancet showed that 30 per cent of US teen girls aged 13-15 had been engaged in binge drinking in the past 30 days. For Irish teens in the same age bracket, the comparable rate was 29 per cent, higher than any other European countries for which data was available.
And the report said that digital media, industrialisation, globalisation and urbanisation have changed traditional family and community influences, resulting in less ‘social scaffolding' of adolescents, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
Overall, the report shows that teenagers are at great risk from binge drinking, drug taking and sexually transmitted diseases .
The report shows 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. The research found that sexual activity among 13 to 15-year-olds is 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 Israel.
And while the report did not have data on binge drinking for teenage girls within the past 30 days, it showed that England has 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.
The figures are taken from 2006, the last year with internationally comparable data, and they suggest that teenagers' general wellbeing has improved far less over the last 50 years than that of children under 10 with evidence suggesting adolescence is not the healthiest time of life.
While the death rate among under-fives has declined by 80 per cent or more in many countries in the past fifty years, adolescent mortality has only marginally improved.
Studies on adolescent brains suggest they are more affected than adults by exciting or stressful situations when making decisions. Increased activity in the nucleus accumbens, a reward and pleasure centre, appears linked to this.
The researchers said with longer periods in education, and significant delays to marriage or settling down, the period during which young people are exposed to the risks of adolescence has extended significantly.
Such behaviours include harmful alcohol consumption and illicit drug use with peers, and sex with more casual partners, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
by Tom O'Gorman