Saturday, February 28, 2009

This sounds all wrong

While reading about Alfie Patton, the 13 year old in Britain, who just became a father, I was stunned not by the story, but by the following statistics: 

Britain had 27 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 between 2000 and 2005, according to a report published by Population Action International. Comparable figures are 10 per 1,000 for Spain, for France, and 5 in 1,000 for The Netherlands.

Britain's teen pregnancy rate, however, is still far below that of the United States, which registers 42 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 and are more line with English-speaking countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which respectively have 17 and 27 births per 1,000 women between 15 and 19, according to the report.

Apparently, these English speaking countries have a lot to learn about teen pregnancies.

Here is part of a report from the CDC:

International comparisons show that the United States could do much better in improving teen pregnancy and birth rates.  U.S. teen pregnancy and teen birth rates are the second highest among 46 countries in the developed world.  These data show that U.S. teens’ sexual behavior is similar to teens of other developed countries in terms of when they start to have sex and how often they are having it.  Yet, U.S. teens are less likely to use contraception or to consistently use more effective methods of contraception when compared to the teens of several other developed countries.  Recent data show that 77% of the decline in teen pregnancy rates among U.S. teens aged 15–17 years is because teens have increased their use of contraception and 23% of the decline is because teens are having less sex.  Among older U.S. teens, 18– to 19– years-old, these data show that all the reduction in pregnancy risk was related to increased contraceptive use.  Organizations such as Advocates for Youth and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy have identified effective programs to promote healthy decision-making among teenagers; such as, reducing numbers of partners, delaying initiation of sex, and increasing contraception and condom use. Although this is encouraging, much work remains to identify additional innovative interventions that address the social, cultural, and environmental influences on teen pregnancy. There is also a need to find better ways of disseminating evidence-based approaches to teen pregnancy prevention, so that effective interventions are more widely used.

In 2006, the overall birth rate for 15– to 19– year-old females was 41.9, but—
  • the rate was 83 among Hispanics (twice the overall rate),
  • 63.7 among non-Hispanic blacks (however, blacks have a slightly higher teen pregnancy rate than Hispanics),
  • 54.7 among American Indian or Alaska Natives, and
  • 26.6 among non-Hispanic whites.
It seems there's much more work to be done, here.


Janis said...

This is so scary to me because I have four Grandaughters and the oldest is going to be 13 this year. Been there done that with my two now grown daughters and it was so hard. Self respect and will power is the name of the game. Sex has turned into a game instead of an intimate personal and special act between two people. Now a days having sex is as casual as a hug or a kiss. SAD, SAD, SAD!

Maria said...

I have some nieces between 20 and 17 and contraception seems to be no problem for them. They all have sex with their boyfriend. They all take the pill and their mothers luckily agree.
Also my 22 year old nephew has not surprised me with fatherhood so far.
I think in Austria it is not a real problem among teens.
I have not the impression from my nieces and nephews that sex has become casual for them. But it is not tied to marriage anymore as it was with my parent's generation in the 1950-ies, but to partnership.

Maria said...

But I know a man who is about 60 years old now who was "seduced" by his step mother and who became a father when he was 14.
It was a tragedy, everything was tabu, and I'm not sure if the "child" was ever told who his real father is. That makes me feel very sad.

Louise said...

It IS all wrong. Much of our society let children raise themselves, first with television (much very age-inappropriate in my opinion), then on the streets (or malls) with their friends. Parents are afraid to talk to children about the difficult things and don't have time to spend with them. Really, what do we expect. (I'm not very patient with parents sometimes, especially since I'm criticized daily for being tough on my VERY HAPPY children because at 4 and 7, they do not run the household.) Parents need to be parents, not friends, or worse, absent.

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