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Today’s youths are more responsible and more educated than those of past generations but need to focus on leading healthy lifestyles, said HHS Secretary Thompson at the first ever National Youth Summit.

Mr. Thompson promoted sexual abstinence as the only way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. He called on youths in attendance to “be ambassadors” to their peers and discourage unhealthy behavior. Attorney General Ashcroft and Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman joined Mr. Thompson at the event, which was sponsored by the U.S. Dept of HHS with seven other U.S. departments. Mr. Ashcroft echoed Mr. Thompson’s calls for healthy living and added that interpersonal relationships and public service are other factors in developing good leaders. Mentoring and education are two ways to ensure children lead successful lives, Ashcroft said, adding that parents should realize that “in everything we do, we teach.” [The Washington Times 28 June02]