TUESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Over the last two decades teen births have dropped 37 percent in the United States and are now at a record low, government health officials report.
While this is good news, the U.S. teen birth rate is still up to nine times that of other affluent nations, and more than 410,000 teen births were recorded in the United States in 2009 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"While we are making significant progress in bringing down the teen birth rate, we have much more work to do in order to bring those rates in line with other developed countries," Ursula Bauer, director of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said during a noon press conference Tuesday.
Another expert agreed.
"The report makes clear that the United States is a real outlier in teen pregnancy," said Bill Albert, Chief Program Office at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "Even with these extraordinary declines it is still that case that 3 in 10 girls get pregnant in their teenage years and our rates remain far higher than other comparable countries," he said.
Speaking at the press conference, Dr. Wanda Barfield, director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion's division of reproductive health, said that teens may still not be getting the sex education they need to protect themselves.
"Teens are not receiving abstinence education, as well as sexual education," she said. "Only 50 percent of high school students are getting comprehensive sexual education including abstinence and contraception," Barfield added.
The new CDC report is based on 2009 data on those aged 15 to 19. It finds that about 46 percent of teens say they've had sexual intercourse and about 14 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys say they do not
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