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Early Sex Ed Yields Lifelong Benefits

Update Date: Jul 17, 2014 05:59 PM EDT

Early sexual education could yield lifetime benefits, according to a new study.

Researchers explain that children aged 10 to 14 are the most impressionable as they are constructing their own identities and are generally open to new ideas and influences.

Researchers at Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health said that this time period provides a window of opportunity for parents, teachers and healthcare providers to assist children's transition into healthy teenage and adulthood years.

"Ten is not too young to help girls and boys understand their bodies and the changes that are occurring. Ten is not too young to begin to move them from ignorance to knowledge," senior author Rebecka Lundgren, MPH, and the director of research at the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, said in a news release.

"We need to reach 10 to 14 year olds, often through their parents or schools, to teach them about their bodies and support development of a healthy body image and a strong sense of self worth. We also need to hear their voices -- the voices of the under-heard and underserved. Ten is not too young," Lundgren noted.

We need to expand that focus to include boys, laying a foundation for both girls and boys to learn and communicate with peers, parents, teachers and health providers as they develop positive self images and healthy practices in order to move this age group from vulnerability to empowerment," Lundgren concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Global Public Health.

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