ND & MN Teen Pregnancy Rates Among Lowest In Nation - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND & MN Teen Pregnancy Rates Among Lowest In Nation

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We hear about it on a national scale from time to time, kids having kids. Turns out North Dakota and Minnesota have two of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the country. Today Valley News Live scoured through the highly recognized findings of the Guttmacher Institute's research to help explain how our border states ranked in so low.

About 13 percent of U.S. teens have had sex by the time they're just 15. That number jumps significantly by the time they reach their 19th birthday. By then 7 out of 10 teenagers have done it.

Amy Jacobson of Planned Parenthood ND says though we ranked in well above the average in the U.S. we still have a way to go. Adding sex education is proven to work, "We know that when young people have access to comprehensive sex education that they delay sexual activity to begin with. They are less likely to have a teen pregnancy and less likely to get a std."

The U.S. collectively has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of all the developed world. It averages out to 68 pregnancies for every 1000 women aged 15 to 19. That's double the teen pregnancy rates in Canada!

Jacobson says that while North Dakota is doing well, other countries have taken much bolder strides to curb teenage pregnancies. "28 out of 1000 young people become pregnant every year (in the U.S.) whereas other countries like Switzerland or Japan that number is more like 5 out of 1000. So we have a very significant way to go." Says Jacobson.

While north Dakota and Minnesota ranked in with the 47th and 48th lowest teenage pregnancies in the country... Jacobson says North Dakota is also leading in another category, "when we look at this number of teen pregnancy rates it can be misleading, and one thing to think about from 2007 to 2010 teen pregnancies rates across the country declined except for in the state of North Dakota and a few other states."

From 1995 to 2002 a staggering 86 percent of the decline in teenage pregnancies were attributed to improvements in contraceptive use. Just 14 percent of that decline is attributed teens deciding not to have sex. Which is why Jacobson encourages parents to talk with their kids, as fun as that may sound, "parents need to become advocates for their young people and they need to pay attention to what curriculum is being used in health classes to teach about sexuality and sexual health." 

In 2010 the federal government gave 50 million dollars to states for "abstinence only until marriage" programs. The most recent data from the Guttmacher Institute indicates just 46% of sexually active teens have never received formal education about contraceptive use. To find out how to talk to your kids about sex we've included a link at valleynewslive.com just click on the hot button or check out the links below.



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