Following a new report from the British Medical Association warning that teenagers' health is at an all-time low, due to their lifestyles, LIFE has appealed to the government to reform its sex education policy. Professor Jack Scarisbrick, national chairman, said: "We are witnessing a crisis in the mental and physical health of this generation. The hedonistic lifestyles of young people who are eating, drinking and smoking to excess and indulging in promiscuous behaviour, show just how much they have lost their way. "Of course there are several factors contributing to this state of affairs, not least the breakdown of the family and the undermining of the status of marriage. But the liberal attitude of the government as regards sex education in schools is making matters much, much worse. "Children as young as 11 can buy magazines containing explicit sexual instructions and are bombarded by all sectors of the media with sexual messages. At school they are encouraged not to abstain from sex but simply to 'be careful'. It is as if we have given up on them. The 'condom culture' is failing them with pandemic levels of STIs in our cities and one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the developed world. "Sex education in schools needs to be reformed as a matter of urgency if we are to avoid the timebomb of infertility awaiting this generation. Teenagers need to learn how to value themselves enough to say no to sex, to think positively about abstinence and to discover their uniqueness and self-worth. So many lack self-esteem and the confidence to swim against the tide. This is what teenagers instinctively want - some guidance on how to reach their true potential and live full, happy lives. The lives of excess that these youngsters are leading are really cries for help. "The LIFE Education Programme focuses on raising young people,s self-esteem by asking them what they think will make them truly happy. Good relationships and family life are what teenagers want; they do not want promiscuity, STIs and abortions. Our programme merely taps into what young people really think and the government should take a leaf out of our book."
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