In 2010, birth rates for U.S. teenagers fell to an all-time low with fewer babies born than in any year since 1946.
Strong pregnancy prevention messages and increased use of birth control is credited for the decline in teen birth rates. Education on pregnancy prevention is vital in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies; not only for teens, but for men and women of all ages.
In spite of these declines, birth rates to teens living in the United States remain one of the highest among other industrialized countries; surpassed only by Bulgaria.
Nebraska had 1,975 births to teens in 2010; with 126 reported in Lincoln County and the surrounding area.
Teen childbearing is a matter of public concern.
The estimated public costs (federal, state and local) associated with teen childbearing is $10.9 billion annually.
Along with elevated health risks for teen mothers; their babies are at higher risk for having low birth-weight, pre-term birth, and death in infancy.
Teen parents are less likely to graduate from high school or attend college; often times living in poverty.
Daughters born to teen mothers are more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
Letís unite as a community to encourage delaying the onset of sexual activity, remove the stereo-typing associated with choosing abstinence, educate about the conditions under which pregnancy can occur, provide safe, effective birth control methods and increase teensí self-motivation to avoid pregnancy.
Pam Johnson, Peopleís Family Health Services, Inc., North Platte