WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. teen birth rates
showed notable decreases throughout most states and across all
racial and ethnic groups from 2007-09, federal researchers reported
Forty-five states reported significant declines in births to
teens 18 to 19 years old from 2007 to 2009. Thirty-one states also
reported fewer births to 15-to-17-year-olds in that time period,
according to preliminary data analyzed by the National Center for
Health Statistics, a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
The overall teen birth rate for 2009 -- 39.1 births per 1,000
teens ages 15 to 19 -- was the lowest since record-keeping began
nearly 70 years ago, the CDC first reported in December. The
downward trend has remained steady since the early 1990s except for
two years, 2006 and 2007.
Northern New England states and the intermountain West reported
the steepest declines in birth among teens 18-19 from 2007 to 2009
-- 27 percent for New Hampshire and Vermont, while New York,
Louisiana, and New Mexico saw smaller, but still significant, dips
of 5 percent.
Birth rates for younger teens (15-17) dropped the most in the
Southeast and the intermountain West, with rates in Arizona going
down by 20 percent.
West Virginia was the only state where teen births in that age
group rose significantly -- 17 percent -- during those years.
But despite recent notable declines, the United States still
leads the developed world in numbers of births to teenagers, which
concerns public health officials.
Teen childbearing carries significant risks. Babies born to
teenage mothers are more likely to be of low birthweight or preterm
than infants born to older women, and they have a higher risk of
dying during infancy, the report says.
Additionally, it's estimated that teenage parenting costs the
public $9.1 billion a year.
Exactly what accounts for the falloff in births is unclear,
although the CDC says some reports suggest that teens engaged in
less sexual activity in the 1990s and mid-2000s and also increased
Some experts have other thoughts.
"That doesn't mean decreases in sexual activity, but just alternate intimacies that teenagers are discovering or rediscovering," said Dr. Lawrence B. Friedman, a professor of pediatrics and director of the division of adolescent medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
"There is also increased use of effective contraception," he said in December when the CDC announced the record-low teen birth rate.
"Previous studies have suggested that these declines reflected the impact of strong teenage pregnancy prevention messages that accompanied a variety of public and private efforts to focus teenagers' attention on the importance of avoiding pregnancy," the report said.
The report authors said additional data expected this year may
help pinpoint the specific factors related to the downward
Other highlights of the report:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.