For regular readers, you know this is the last topic of the CDCs 5 “winnable battles”. CDC’s new leader, Dr. Thomas Frieden, is focusing the agency’s energies on these topics because he believes we can beat them in three years.
Preventing teen childbearing could save the United States about $9 Billion per year. Teen mothers face higher rates of preterm birth, and their kids have higher rates of low birth weight, and infant death. Compared to women who delay childbearing until the age of 20 to 21 years, teenage moms are more likely to drop out of high school, and to be and remain single parents. The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower grades and proficiency scores at kindergarten entry; they’re more likley to have behavior problems and chronic medical conditions; and they rely more heavily on publicly-provided health care (AHCCCS). They’re more likely to be jailed at some time during adolescence until their early 30s, drop out of high school, give birth as a teenager, and be unemployed or underemployed as a young adult.
That’s basically why the CDC’s picking this as a battle. But, just like childhood obesity- interventions to decrease teen pregnancies will take time and involve a lot more than just public health… it’s multi-factorial and will require coordinated interventions from many sectors. You can read more on our website about Arizona’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs on our Abstinence Education and Comprehensive Education sites.