Younger Teens Still Account for 1 in 4 Teen Births
Although births to younger teens aged 15 to 17 years have declined, they still represent over a quarter of teen births - nearly 1,700 births a week, according to this month's Vital Signs. This reinforces the need for targeted interventions to prevent teen pregnancy, says the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Although we have made significant progress reducing teen pregnancy, far too many teens are still having babies," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Births to younger teens pose the greatest risk of poor medical, social and economic outcomes. Efforts to prevent teen childbearing need to focus on evidence-based approaches to delaying sexual activity and increasing use of the most effective methods of contraception for those teens who are sexually active."
CDC researchers analyzed birth data from the National Vital Statistics System and adolescent health behavior data from the National Survey of Family Growth.
Other findings about sexually active teens in this age group include:
The Vital Signs report also underscores findings from previous CDC reports on teen pregnancy prevention:
"We need to provide young people with the support and opportunities they need to empower themselves. Trying to balance the task of childbearing while trying to complete their high school education is a difficult set of circumstances, even with the help of family and others," said Shanna Cox, M.S.P.H., CDC's Division of Reproductive Health. "Teens who give birth are at increased risk of having a repeat birth while still a teenager. And these younger teens are less likely to earn a high school diploma or GED than older teens who give birth."
SOURCE: CDC, April 8, 2014