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Break Cycle Of Teen Pregnancies, NZMA Says

Resources should be put into identifying at-risk families to try and break the cycle of teenage parenthood, the New Zealand Medical Association says.

A study in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal reveals a wide range of personal and social factors associated with teen pregnancy, including adolescent problems, poor school achievement, family adversity, socially disadvantaged family background, and becoming sexually active at an early age.

Daughters of young, single women are at high risk of becoming young (and often single) mothers themselves.

"This study helps define the factors associated with teen pregnancies," said NZMA Chairman Dr John Adams, "Of particular concern is the identification of intergenerational cycles of early pregnancy and motherhood.

"We must start breaking the cycle of teenagers given birth to children who go on to become teen parents themselves. It's well known that these at-risk families have higher rates of poor health, social disadvantage, educational under-achievement and behavioural problems.

"Simply trying to teach kids about contraception or telling them to abstain from sex doesn't work with this group. A broader approach is needed.

"Resources should continue to be targeted at identifying at-risk families and providing services to try and break the intergenerational cycle. We support Government moves in this direction," Dr Adams concluded.

ENDS




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