Teen births down 30 percent

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Have you talked about sex lately with your teen? Researchers say it might be a good time to start. The number of teens giving birth has plummeted by 30 percent across the country, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reason? Some say that it s better communication with teens.

Researchers analyzed data collected from 2007 to 2011. Hispanic teens had the biggest decline in birth rates seen throughout the nation. The data reflected declines in birth rates of 20 percent in white teens, 24 percent in black teens and 34 percent in Hispanic teens.

According to Brady Hamilton, a report co-author and a statistician at the CDC s National Center for Health Statistics, the impressive decrease may be due to public service messages that resonate with teens. Teen births are the focus of many public policies, he said. I think this shows the message is getting out.

Dr. Carlos Lerner, medical director of the Children s Health Center at the University of California, Los Angeles finds that the most important part of counseling teens is being non-judgemental when providing information about sex. In settings like ours, we make sure we provide information in a culturally sensitive way, he said. As we ve learned to do that better, I think the message has been becoming more and more effective.

Experts find that other factors may include increased use of birth control with the first sexual experience and the use of dual contraceptive methods, such as condoms plus the pill.

Although the results are positive there are still areas where teen births are high and that needs to be examined in greater detail, according to Hamilton. It s good news, but it shows there is still much that needs to be examined and done.

Dr. Kava comments This decline in teen births is indeed good news! We must determine why the decline isn t more widespread and endeavor to reach those areas where rates are still too high.