Ottawa County teen pregnancy rate lower than national average
Patrick Center March 14, 2013 | WGVU
The birth rate for Ottawa County teens is down…way down. In 2007 there were 397 teenage girls uttering the words, “I’m pregnant.” That announcement was made by 283 young moms in 2011. That’s a 29 percent drop in teen pregnancy. The number gleaned from the Michigan Department of Community Health. Ottawa County’s Reproductive Health Educator, Heather Alberda, explains what may be causing the decline.
“Conversations surrounding healthy sexuality and families their expectations that teenagers are delaying the onset of sexual activity as well and that they’re using contraception at the time that they’re engaging in sexual activity.”
Still, she says parents, teachers and the county must continue the sexual behavior discussion and the consequences. Alberda says, “44 percent of youth are engaging in sexual activity by graduation.”
“And we’re seeing that number trend down as well. But again, we can’t become complacent and just think, oh, it’s coming down, we still need to be working as a community, as a whole, as families to get the message out there about delaying the onset of sexual activity.”
How does Ottawa County compare with the rest of the country? The National Center for Health Statistics has posted its 2010-2011 report indicating the U.S. teen birth rate has declined 8 percent. During that same time period, Ottawa County’s rate dropped 16 percent.
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