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Sex Education is Failing Our Young People and Their Health

Today's topic is health education for young people, we explore the gaps in our current education system, particularly around general health and sexual health, and how we can do better for future generations.


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The Early Stages: Why Prevention Matters

When I was diagnosed with a chronic illness at 18, I was thrust into adult responsibilities and experiences that I felt ill-prepared for. This made me reflect on our education system and how it prepares or fails to prepare young people for the health challenges they might face. Our current approach to health education is largely reactive rather than preventative. We wait for symptoms to appear before taking action, which is the opposite of what we should be doing. For instance, in the NHS, a diagnosis of diabetes comes only after blood glucose levels reach a certain high threshold. A functional medicine approach, however, would intervene much earlier, at the first signs of a problem, preventing the disease from developing in the first place.

The Role of Pharmaceutical Companies

This reactive approach is not just a failure of policy but also influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. There’s a significant financial incentive for these companies to maintain a system where diseases need to be treated rather than prevented. Preventative health measures would reduce the need for medications and treatments, impacting their profits. While I’m not one for conspiracy theories, it’s hard to ignore the influence pharmaceutical companies have over our healthcare system.

Improving Health Education

Reflecting on my own school experience, I can’t recall any substantial education on general health or sexual health that was truly useful. This lack of practical, real-world information leaves young people unprepared for the significant changes they undergo during puberty and beyond. We need to introduce comprehensive health education at the secondary school level, this should cover hormonal imbalances, changes in the body, and how these changes affect mental health. By understanding that puberty is a transformational period that affects both body and mind, teenagers can better navigate this challenging time.

The Importance of Hormonal Education

Hormones play a critical role in almost every bodily function, from stress responses to digestion, immune function, and reproductive health. Yet, our education system barely scratches the surface of this topic. Teenagers often feel confused and alienated by the changes in their bodies, which can significantly impact their mental health. We should encourage open conversations between parents and teenagers about these changes. Parents need to be equipped with the knowledge to support their children, discussing how these hormonal changes can affect their perception of their bodies and their overall well-being.

Moving Forward

To truly revamp sex education, we need to adopt a preventative approach to health education that prepares young people for the challenges they will face. This includes:

  1. Comprehensive Health Classes: Introduce practical, real-world education about general health and sexual health.

  2. Preventative Health Approach: Teach students about the importance of prevention and early intervention in maintaining long-term health.

  3. Open Communication: Encourage parents and educators to have open, honest conversations with young people about the changes they are experiencing.

  4. Balanced Discussions: Address controversial topics with sensitivity and provide balanced information to help young people make informed decisions.

By making these changes, we can ensure that our education system not only prepares young people for adulthood but also empowers them to take control of their health and well-being.


The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast

The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast challenges listeners to believe that all chronic illnesses can be put into remission. Alex is on a mission to engage, educate and empower those living with a chronic illness who want to change their life for the better. Join your host as she shares her journey of living with a chronic illness and invites expert guests to break down complex niches of health, science and wellness. Each episode is a lifeline for listeners, offering practical strategies, emotional support, and a sense of community. 

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