Lambeth teen pregnancy rates plummet by 71% due to ‘better sex education and contraception use’

Teenage pregnancy rates in Lambeth have fallen by 71% since 1998, as the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of teen parents in the UK hit a record low.

The figures released by the ONS show that the under-18 conception rate in England and Wales is the lowest since 1969.

Lambeth and the rest of the south west London boroughs have seen large reductions in pregnancies in their under-18 populations.

Jules Hillier deputy chief executive of Brook, the UK’s leading sexual health charity for young people, urged local authorities to continue to invest in sex education to ensure the record low figures are sustained.

Ms Hillier said: “The figures are testament to a lot of hard work that must be sustained even in the face of spending cuts – investment in prevention is cost effective.”

Out of the south west London boroughs, Lambeth has seen the biggest drop with an under-18 conception rate of 24.7 per 1,000 in 2013 compared to 85.3 per 1,000 women in 1998.

Kensington and Chelsea have the lowest number of pregnancies in under-18s with a rate of 19 per 1,000 women, down 55% from 1998.

In contrast Croydon has the most teenage pregnancies in south west London, 32.5 per 1,000 women, although this is a reduction of 45% from 1998.

For many years the UK has had one of the highest teen pregnancy and abortion rates in Western Europe so the latest figures are likely to please health officials.

Sexual health charities have attributed the fall in rates to long-term government policies to improve sex education and access to contraception.

However there is still work to do as rates in the UK remain among the highest in Europe and charities have warned against complacency.

Picture courtesy of Susan, with thanks

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