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U.S., Britain rank last in child welfare

NEW YORK, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A U.N. examination of industrialized nations has ranked the United States and Britain dead last in child welfare.

The report, titled "Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries," ranked 21 western counties using factors including education, health, sexual behavior and drug abuse.

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The Netherlands earned the top spot, performing well in all categories examined by the U.N. children's organization UNICEF. Other Scandinavian nations, including second place Sweden, also performed well, but two of the world's richest countries, Britain and the United States, were ranked last and second to last, respectively.

The report found nearly 40 percent of 15-year-olds in Britain say they have had sexual intercourse and 35 percent of the country's children say they have used marijuana.

The United States was tied with Russia for the highest number of teen pregnancies.

"All countries have weaknesses to be addressed" said Marta Santos Pais, director of Innocenti, which conducted the study with UNICEF. "No single dimension of well-being stands as a reliable proxy for child well-being as a whole and several (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries find themselves with widely differing rankings for different dimensions of children's lives."

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