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State's teen pregnancy rate declining faster

POSTED: July 26, 2007 5:02 a.m.

ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Office of Adolescent Health and Youth Development reports the decline of pregnancy rates among Georgia females between the ages of 15 and 17 exceeds the national average rate by 4 percent.

In 2005, Georgia experienced a 7 percent decline in rates compared to the state’s 2004 statistics. The national average rate of decline is three percent. Division of Public Health officials attribute the decline of teenage pregnancy rates to a variety of tools and measures used to educate teens and involve influential parties such as families and schools.

“The decline in rates is the result of a commitment made by teachers, parents and other community members, along with our agency, to educate this age group and lower the number of teen pregnancies in Georgia,” said Dr. Stuart Brown, Director of the Division of Public Health.

“We are thrilled about this accomplishment and we will continue to strive for even greater success.”

In 2005, pregnancy rates among Georgia females between the ages of 15 and 17 were 36.8 per 1,000 which indicate a continued decline in the statistics. The pregnancy rates for this age group were 39.4 per 1,000 in 2004. During 2004, more than 16,000 babies were born to girls aged 10-19 in Georgia.

Of these, more than 3,400 were repeat births. National statistics reveal that despite impressive declines, one in three teen girls still become pregnant by age 20.

The Office of Adolescent Youth and Development implemented several tools, such as youth support groups, that helped achieve the continued decline of pregnancy rates among Georgia’s young females.

The group indicates that intervention tools created to reach this population were based on recognizing that teenage pregnancy is still a problem that influences the health and economical livelihood of the community. Therefore, measures such as parent involvement, educational and youth support programs and other teen pregnancy interventions implemented by the Office of Youth and Adolescent Development contributed to the state’s decreased rate.

More than two decades of research indicates that closeness between parents and their children, parental presence in the home and shared activities are associated with a reduced risk of early sex and teenage pregnancy.

Teen Center programs that include a Parent Advisory Council and a Parent Education program are ways the Office of Adolescent Youth and Development encourage parents to get involved and play a pivotal role in reducing teenage pregnancy rates.

The Office of Adolescent Youth and Development funds programs and supports youth programs that help young people delay early sexual activity, pregnancy and parenthood while also encouraging positive behavior. Partnerships with community-based programs have improved contraceptive use among sexually active teens and prevent teen pregnancy.

Teen pregnancy invention programs reinforce positive attitudes, healthy behaviors and activities and focus on reducing risk-taking behaviors such as violence, substance abuse, poor school performance and sexual activity.

For more information about Georgia’s teenage pregnancy rates, please visit online http://health.state.ga.us/programs/adolescent/ or call (404) 656-6679.

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