Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Rise in STD & Pregnancy in US teens July 20, 2009

Filed under: Culture,Family,health,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 4:25 am

A new study is out from CDC that show increased sexual activities among teens and some of its disastrous consquences. See reports in ABC News and Reuters. FInd the CDC report here.

From 1991 to 2005, birth rates among teens had fallen and now in 2006 and 2007, the trend has changed. Sex ed policies need to be revisited. Whatever seems to be working is not working any more. Parental involvement in teens and abstinence until marriage is undoubtedly the best policy to avert this trend.

Here are the findings:

  • About one-third of adolescents hadn’t received instruction on methods of birth control before age 18.
  • In 2004, there were about 745,000 pregnancies among females younger than age 20, including an estimated 16,000 pregnancies among girls aged 10 to 14.
  • Syphilis cases among young people aged 15 to 24 have increased in both males and females in recent years.
  • In 2006, about one million young people aged 10 to 24 were reported to have chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis.
  • From 1997 to 2006, rates of AIDS cases among males aged 15 to 24 increased.
  • In 2006, the majority of new diagnoses of HIV infection among young people occurred among males aged 20 to 24.
  • From 2004 to 2006, about 100,000 females aged 10 to 24 visited a hospital emergency department for nonfatal sexual assault, including 30,000 females aged 10 to 14.
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    Deadly Pessimism of the Youth June 30, 2009

    Filed under: church,Culture,Family,health,Leadership,News,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 2:35 pm

    A  new study has found almost 15 percent of American teens believe they will die before age 35 — a perspective strongly linked to risky behavior. Read the report in Forbes. ALso see NIH findings on Adolescent Mental Health.

    Last week, I lost a friend and he was only 30. Recently I was speaking at a youth camp and I was shocked at a their sense of doom awaiting them. They are living with a sense of fear about their uncertain future and dabble with risky behaviors. Such widespread teen pessimism is dangerous to church, society and nation. Economic uncertainity, living under foreign, prevailing media coverage of glooming national scenarios and what not.

    The study also found that a teen’s mental state and behavior were mutually influential. A teen who predicted a short lifespan, for instance, during an early interview was more likely to engage in subsequent risky behavior, and teens who engaged in risky behavior throughout the first year of the study were more likely to develop a pessimistic view of their future.

    Kids begin to think, there is no point in studying hard, if they cannot find any reasonable job. When they see their parents loose jobs, they doubt their own future. With looming terrorist threats and alerts at airports affects teen psyche more than we think. They take it seriously and begin to see monsters behind every bush.

    Will you pump in some optimism to teens around you? They desperately need them.


    UK: Family breakdown causing social anarchy June 27, 2009

    Filed under: Britain (UK),Family,health,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:11 pm

    Last week, I was in UK. As I landed in London and was waiting for a connecting flight to Northern Ireland, I picked up the morning newspapers and was quite surprised at this report “Only Marriage can mend broken Britain” Read it for yourself – BBC, Daily Mail, and also Christian Institute.

    Justice Paul Coleridge was addressing the UK parliment and compared ‘meltdown’ in british families with global warming and cancer behind all social evils. He said result of family breakdown would be distastruous to the nation. He even advocated government to do more for the families to end the social anarchy.

    He also condemned the ‘pass the partner’ trend in growing prevlance in cities of UK and how such immoral practices would ‘scar children for life.’ When future generation is ‘damaged and emotional disturbed’ as a result of parental neglect, selfishness and abuse, society is sure to pay a heavy price in the years to come. He claimed ‘almost all of society’s social ills can be traced directly to the collapse of familylife.’

    Over last few decades, the anti-family policies that Western society has embraced has costed the nations dearly. Generations later somebody seems to get it. When collective good is sunk in favor of individual rights, society will implode. Abraham Lincoln was right – ‘The strength of a nation lies in the strength of its families.’ When families falls apart, so goes community, church and the nation.

    Somebody finally seems to have the courage and wisdom to challenge the growing epidemic of broken homes. After being family judge for several years and seeing first hand crisis of modern society, with insight into how it could afffect a nation’s future, he was calling for a change in attitude by the policy makers and seniors leaders of his country. Way to go Justice Coleridge. We need such champions in every nation!


    Changing Childhood May 15, 2009

    Filed under: Culture,Family,health,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 4:55 pm

    Childhood is never the same. 10 years old girls are into diets, manicures and breast implants. See a report in Daily Mail and about Generation Diva in Newsweek. With the onset of puberty at younger years and constant bombardment of sexually charged images, preteens moving from childhood into adulthood, skipping important life stage of adolescence.

    Another recent survey, by a children’s organisation questioned 150,000 children and found that an astonishing 26 per cent of ten-year-old girls are obsessed with their weight and feel they’re not thin enough. More girls under the age of ten are being diagnosed with anorexia than ever. Some early teens are opting for breast implants as their birthday presents.

    May be parents and culture should be blamed. We are putting so much pressure on our children today to grow up too quickly. They access information which is way beyond their level of maturity in terms of sexual and relationship behaviour. They exhibit increased levels of anxiety among young girls who feel they are not thin enough, not beautiful enough, and compare themselves to the impossible images of their airbrushed idols in magazines.

    Many ten-year-old girls are obsessed by hair, fashion and make-up. Children are being inundated with images which they are simply not emotionally mature enough to cope with. They tend to believe this is how they should be and that everybody is doing them. According to market research, if the trends continue, by the time today’s 10-year-old turns 50, she’ll have spent almost half a million dollars on hair, makeup, elective surgeries, manicures, and pedicures.

    Another recent study found that fewer than 20 per cent of children play outside on a regular basis. As parents work longer hours and have less time to spend with their children, it is all too easy to dump them in front of a television screen. Many of the TV programmes aimed at teenagers, and music videos which are virtually soft porn. Then there is computers with broadband access without any filters or supervision.

    The key to a happy, secure childhood – which is vitally important in creating stable and responsible adults – is to feel good about yourself and know who you are. Coming out of broken homes and self-obsessed parents, this latchkey kids are one of the least nurtured kids ever.

    I am currently reading Spoiling Children: How well meaning prents are giving children too much, but not what they need by Dr. Diane Ehresaft. Title says it all.


    Abduction of boys in China April 22, 2009

    Filed under: china,Culture,Family,health,India,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 6:34 pm

    Young boys are abducted and sold to families who are desperate for a male heir. Yet another fallout from the one child policy to contain population by the Chinese government. Little kids are stolen from play ground and even snatched from the hands of care givers. See the story in New York Times. 

    Mother with a poster of her kidnapped son (source: NYT)

    We all have heard of sex selective abortion plague in India and other parts of the world. In several Indian states this has led to skewed gender balance. Inherant gender bias, religious superstitions and preference for boys force many young couples to determine sex of the babies soon after conception and if it is a girl, they try to abort and keep trying to have a boy child. For more on female infanticide in India and China check out Gendercide case study.

    I believe this is nothing but a curse that as society and future generations are bound to pay for. The intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females. Chuck Colson called it as a curse that keeps on giving in his breakpoint commentary on this issue.

    Market forces are at play. When supply is low and demand rises, so does prices for boys.  Now demand for boys is on the rise. Much of which is a result of distorted social policy. Families are paying thousands of dollars (several months of earnings) in order to ‘secure’ their future by ‘buying’ a boy child. As the NYT story cites, this is not international human trafficking issue, but this trend is aimed at meeting a need in locally.

    China has 32 million more males than females under twenty. In 2005, there were 120 boys born for every 100 girls. The preference for male children has led to the aborting of 16 million females in China. When they come of age, finding a mate is going to be serious problem. Growing up without siblings, they lack relationship skills and most remain ignorant of female species of their kind or how to relate to them. Not to mention rise of gay lifestyle and breakdown in marriges.

    Several years ago, I spoke at a UN conference on families and had the previalge of having dinner along with China minister for social affairs. We discussed about family planning policies of India and China. He was well aware of  growing problems of the Chinese policy to contain it bulging population and yet had to stand by his government stand on this issue. So tragic!

    Cry of the aborted infants are calling for justice to their Creator. The destiny of future generation should not determined by goverment policy, nor should kids become a commodity with a price tag on their head, nor families should be restricted in reproduction rights. Who will stand for the rights or ideoligical shaped policies of our national leaders?


    Divorce is bad for health March 5, 2009

    Filed under: Culture,Family,health — Sam George @ 7:07 pm

    More reserach findings are pouring in. Strained marriages take a toll on health. Emotional and relational health affects physical health. The latest one comes from University of Utah. See reports in US News, BBC, and WebMD.

    The study found that the cardiovascular damage wrought by an unhappy marriage is greater for women than men. The women in the contentious relationships were more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and other markers of what’s known as ‘metabolic syndrome’ which is known to boost the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

    Several other studies have shown that both men and women live longer, happier, healthier and wealthier lives when they are married. Married people have both more and better sex than do their unmarried counterparts. Trouble in marriage is sure to affect not only your physical health, but every facet of your life.

    So cherish and nurture your marriage, before it is too late. You reap its benefits for a lifetime!


    Growing Women Smokers in India April 9, 2008

    Filed under: Culture,Family,health,India,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:08 pm
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    Urban Indian women are leaving a new trail – smoke. Women are catching up fast and narrowing the gap across gender lines in the domain of smoking or chewing tobacco. See a report in India Today. It is based on a World Health Organization’s global survey of tobacco usage.

    Here are some disturbing finding:

  • 31% women tobacco addicts in India are between age 15-49.
  • 25% Indian women light up over 10 cigarettes per day.
  • 62% of women smokers die in their prime compared to 38% of those who don’t.
  • 1 in 20 women in India to die between age 30-69 due to tobacco in 2010s.
  • 20% girls in Delhi and Chennai studying in Class 6 smoke (AIIMS study)
  • 87% Hindi movies show onscreen smoking; 26% have a heroine who smokes.
  • In spite of the labeling that ‘smoking is injurious to health’, tobacco companies continue to market new and imprved version to younger generations. Targeting women and young kids is a great marketing strategy, but why we don’t learn the damage it has caused to men and older generations. Why are bent on repeating mistakes all over again. Interesting that now they have a pink cigarette too!

    Social stigma is out and new trendy fashion statement is drawing scores of women to this addictive habit. “Me too” attitude among women and want to stand on equal footing with man prevails among modern urban Indian women. Smoking becomes a way of keeping up with men. They will not let gender disparity happen in tobacco consumption as well. How foolish!

    Some blame the media for promoting it, while other find government regulation insufficient. Bollywood now portrays many women smokers. Magazines continue to circumvent the advertisement ban on tobacco products. Sporting events continues to carry billboard of cigarette makers. Industry is promoting smoking as a cultural icon of sophistication, glamour and sexual allure and there is a large middle class women falling prey to it.

    Check out here for resource to help youth quit smoking: Anti-smoking, Teen health.