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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Teen Birth Rate Rises for the First Time in 14 Years

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the teen birth rate in the United States rose in 2006 for the first time since 1991, and unmarried childbearing also rose significantly. Thee statistics are featured in a new report called "Births: Preliminary Data for 2006" by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

Apparently between 2005 and 2006 the birth rate for teenagers age 15 to 19 years rose 3 percent after decreasing for the last 14 years. The largest increase was in non-Hispanic black teens, whose overall rate rose 5 percent in 2006. Similar increases are reported for American Indian and Alaska Native teens (4 percent), non-Hispanic white teens (3 percent), and Hispanic teens (2 percent).

The report also notes a record high number of cesarean births (31 percent), more preterm births, and a higher rate of low birthweight babies (less than 5 lbs. 8 oz.)were born. The only good news I could find in the report was that the birth rate for teens aged 10-14 declined 5 percent.

Reports like this should suggest to policy makers and parents that sexuality education and parenting about pregnancy is not doing what every parent wants, which is to help their children to be safe and healthy.

Photo credit: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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