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Teen birth rates decline more than 30 percent

5 months 1 week 5 days ago May 12, 2016 May 12, 2016 Thursday, May 12 2016 May 12, 2016 11:25 AM in Health
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The State Department of Health and Hospitals reports both Louisiana and the nation have seen declines in teenage birth rates over the past decade.

DHH Secretary Rebekah Gee says that’s something to celebrate.

“Fewer teen births means that more of our children will be able to reach for their full potential, complete their education and have a better chance at lifelong success,” said Gee.

As of 2007, the state’s teen birth rate was 55.9 per 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19. The most recent figures from 2014 show that rate has plummeted to 35.56, a decline of 36.4 percent. Rates declined especially sharply among black teens. That demographic saw a decline of more than 44 percent.

According to youth.gov, children born to teen parents are more likely to exhibit the following:

- have a higher risk for low birth weight and infant mortality;
- have lower levels of emotional support and cognitive stimulation;
- have fewer skills and be less prepared to learn when they enter kindergarten;
- have behavioral problems and chronic medical conditions;
- rely more heavily on publicly funded health care;
- have higher rates of foster care placement;
- be incarcerated at some time during adolescence;
have lower school achievement and drop out of high school;
- give birth as a teen; and be unemployed or underemployed as a young adult.

The DHH says through Title X funding, its Bureau of Family Health provided services to more than 8,000 Louisiana residents under the age of 19 in parish health units throughout the state. Services provided through the Title X funding include education and counseling or family planning along with STD prevention and more.

“I’m very proud to applaud the accomplishments of my colleagues and staff at the Bureau of Family Health. Their hard work is clearly paying off for Louisiana and creating a better future for our children,” Gee stated. “It’s clear that preventing teen pregnancy is both valuable and doable. Our efforts are working, and I hope Louisianans everywhere join me in celebrating this improvement.”

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