Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that from 2007 to 2011, the overall rate of teen births plummeted a full 30 percent. The biggest decline was among Hispanic teens, whose birth rate dropped 34 percent. Among non-Hispanic black teens there was a decline of 24 percent. Among white, non-Hispanic teens, the rate decreased by 20 percent.
“The thing that surprised me most was the big decline in rates for Hispanics: at least 40 percent in 22 states and the District of Columbia,” said Brady Hamilton, a report co-author and a statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “That was pretty impressive. It really caught my eye.”
Hamilton suspects that public service messages are starting to resonate with teens. “Teen births are the focus of many public policies,” he said. “I think this shows the message is getting out.”
That makes sense to Dr. Carlos Lerner, medical director of the Children’s Health Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. “In settings like ours, we make sure we provide information in a culturally sensitive way in the patient’s own language,” he explained. “As we’ve learned to do that better, I think the message has been becoming more and more effective.”
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