Date: 11-15-2001

The East-West Wire is a news service provided by the East-West Center in Honolulu. For more information, contact Susan Kreifels at 808-944-7176 or


NOTE: A news conference will be held Monday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m. at The Grand Hotel in Taipei, the conference site. The entire conference is open to the media and briefs of the research papers being presented will be available to journalists.

HONOLULU (Nov. 15) -- Alarm has spread throughout Asia about the growing social changes influencing youth and the increase in harmful risk-taking behavior among adolescents. The problems will continue to grow as Asia sees a significant increase in its young population and as economic development offers more potentially dangerous choices and temptations.

The East-West Center in Honolulu is sponsoring a four-day conference in Taipei to look at risk-taking behavior among adolescents and the most effective programs now in place. Findings will be presented from the Asian Young Adult Reproductive Risk (AYARR) research project, which examined the most important and reliable large-scale youth surveys taken in recent years in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

The Nov. 26-29 conference, titled "Asian Youth at Risk: Social, Health, and Policy Challenges," will bring together some 75 experts on adolescent behavior, policymakers, youth program managers and NGO and government representatives from Asia and the United States.

More than a dozen Asian countries will report on risk-taking behavior among their youth. Some of the behavior stems from new drugs, and delayed marriages and greater freedom, particularly among women. Later marriage brings increased levels of pre-marital and unprotected sex. Presentations will also deal with issues of drinking and drug-taking, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS and the smoking epidemic among Asian youth.

In addition to the six AYARR project countries, presentations are expected from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, South Korea, Japan, Jordan, and the United States.

"There is widespread concern that young people today are confronted directly through the media and by modern society generally with a very wide range of life styles and other options," said Peter Xenos, an East-West Center expert on adolescent behavior and a conference organizer. "At the same time the support and guidance provided them by their families and other social institutions is diminishing."

Co-organizer Minja Kim Choe, a specialist on family and gender issues and reproductive health, said the study of adolescent behavior is a relatively new issue for some Asian countries. "People used to only have time for survival. Now with economic development, there are more temptations and many young people with problems."

The conference host is the Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, Taiwan. The AYARR research project was funded by USAID. For more information and the conference agenda, check

Direct inquiries to Peter Xenos at 808-944-7410, Minja Kim Choe at 808-944-7475, or
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