Teen Pregnancy Rates in African-American Adolescents Experience a Decline

Friday, March 10, 2006 | 01:00 am

Nashville, March 10, 2006

Adolescent pregnancies among African-American teenage females aged 10 to 17 are declining, from a rate of 25.4 per female population of 1,000 in 2003 to a rate of 23.6 in 2004. In comparison, the pregnancy rate for white females age 10 to 17 is 10.2 per population of 1,000.

“The Department of Health is fortunate to partner with a multitude of diverse agencies and organizations statewide, in an ongoing effort to improve our youths’ general health, and specifically to reduce the risk factors for adolescent pregnancies in Tennessee,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “While I am cautiously optimistic about the most recent statistics indicating a decline in our state’s teen pregnancy rates, I encourage all of us – in whatever capacity or setting we may reach or influence adolescents – to remain vigilant and motivated towards enhancing the health outcomes of our young people.”

The rate of adolescent, or teen, pregnancy for African-American teenage girls, aged 10 to 17, is more than twice that of their white peers. Babies born to teenage mothers are at a higher risk of dying before their first birthday, and these young moms have a much higher likelihood of dropping out of high school than their peers.

Low self-esteem, lack of community and family support, lack of involvement in school and recreational activities, limited knowledge about sex and sexuality, lack of access to or no knowledge of contraceptives and peer pressure all contribute to adolescent pregnancy.

The statistics for the number of pregnancies with rates per 1,000 females age 10 to 17, by race for years 2000 to 2004 are as follows:

Year

State Total

White

Black

 

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

Number

Rate

2004

4,163

13.2

2,465

10.2

1,633

23.6

2003

4,345

13.9

2,548

10.6

1,736

25.4

2002

4,379

14.1

2,609

10.9

1,716

25.5

2001

4,687

15.2

2,866

12.1

1,762

26.6

2000

5,059

16.6

3,036

13.2

1,963

30.6

“Communities surrounding these young women should provide them with the skills to be able to refuse intercourse or obtain contraception,” said Department of Health Director of Women’s Health and Genetics Margaret Major. “Through the Tennessee Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program and other health department services, teenage women can gain the knowledge to make an informed decision about these issues.”

The Tennessee Department of Health offers services and funding for programs from abstinence education to pregnancy prevention to family planning.

  • Family planning services (contraceptive services) are available in all 95 counties in Tennessee. All citizens of reproductive age are eligible for services at more than 130 clinic sites across the state.
  • The Tennessee Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (TAPPP) was established in 1988 to promote community awareness, facilitate collaboration, increase prevention efforts, and improve and expand service availability for pregnant and parenting adolescents.
  • The Abstinence Program funds 21 community-based projects in 18 counties, and coordinates an annual statewide conference for parents, youth development workers, and state employees.
  • The Community Prevention Initiative (CPI), which recently awarded requests for grant proposals, will provide model programs for children and adolescents ages 8 to 16.
  • HIV counseling and testing sites provide screenings for HIV, assessment for HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and counseling regarding risk reduction.
  • Pregnancy testing and counseling is available in all local health departments statewide.

For information about programs and services, as well as statistics provided by the Tennessee Department of Health, visit the Department’s Web site at http://www.state.tn.us/health/. To learn more about services in your area, contact your local health department.  A complete list of health departments is available online at http://www2.state.tn.us/health/LocalDepts/index.html.

Note: This is the final in a series of four media releases issued by the Tennessee Department of Health to address health issues in the African-American community.