ATLANTA — The U.S. teen birth rate in 2009 fell to its lowest point in almost 70 years of record-keeping – a decline that stunned experts who believe it’s partly due to the recession.
The birth rate for teenagers fell to 39 births per 1,000 girls, ages 15 through 19, according to a government report released Tuesday. It was a 6 percent decline from the previous year, and the lowest since health officials started tracking the rate in 1940.
Experts say the recent recession – from December 2007 to June 2009 – was a major factor driving down births overall, and there’s good reason to think it affected would-be teen mothers.
“I’m not suggesting that teens are examining futures of 401(k)s or how the market is doing,” said Sarah Brown, chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
“But I think they are living in families that experience that stress. They are living next door to families that lost their jobs. … The recession has touched us all,” Brown said.
Teenage moms, who account for about 10 percent of the nation’s births, are not unique. The total number of births also has been dropping, as have birth rates among all women except those 40 and older.
For comparison look to the peak year of teen births – 1957. There were about 96 births per 1,000 teen girls that year, but it was a different era, when women married younger, said Stephanie Ventura, a co-author of the report issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC births report is based on a review of most birth certificates for 2009.
Overall, about 4.1 million babies were born in 2009, down almost 3 percent from 2008. It’s the second consecutive drop in births, which had been on the rise since 2000.
The trend may continue: A preliminary count of U.S. births through the first six months of this year suggests a continuing drop, CDC officials said.
A decline in immigration to the United States, blamed on the weak job market, is another factor cited for the lower birth rate. A large proportion of immigrants are Hispanic, and Hispanics accounted for nearly 1 in 4 births in 2009. The birth rate among Hispanic teens is the highest of any ethnic group with 70 births per 1,000 girls in 2009. However, that rate, too, was down from the previous year.
Other findings in the new report include:
– The cesarean delivery rate rose yet again, to about 33 percent of births. The C-section rate has been rising every year since 1996.
– The pre-term birth rate, for infants delivered at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy, dropped for the third straight year to about 12 percent of all births. It had been generally increasing since the early 1980s.
– Birth rates were down from 2008 in almost every age group of women of childbearing. The birth rate for women in their early 20s plummeted 7 percent, the largest decline for that age group since 1973.
The one exception was women older then 40 – a group that may be more concerned with declining fertility than the economy. The birth rate for women ages 40-44 was up 3 percent from 2008, to about 10 births per 1,000 women. That’s the highest rate for that group since 1967.
The drop in birth rates was less pronounced in women in their 30s than women in their 20s, noted Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health and epidemiology.
“If women feel they are up against a biological clock, that is a counterbalance to ‘I can’t afford to have a baby right now,’” she said.
CDC officials said the most striking change was the decline among teens, and some experts credited popular culture as playing a role. The issue of teen pregnancy got a lot of attention through Bristol Palin, the unmarried daughter of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Bristol Palin had a baby boy in December 2008. Teen pregnancy is also cast in a harsh light by “16 and Pregnant,” a popular MTV reality show which first aired in 2009 and chronicles the difficulties teen moms face.
Gabriela Briela, 17, a high school senior in Chicago, believes TV shows like that one are a big factor. She also credits sex education that goes beyond abstinence and advises birth control for teens who have sex.
Briela recalled one of her eighth grade teachers telling students to write down how they would tell their parents if they became pregnant.
“It’s something that I still keep with me. It forced you to really ponder that thought” and think about the consequences, she said.
For decades, health educators have been emphasizing the hazards of teen pregnancy, including higher dropout rates and other problems for these young mothers and their kids. The cumulative effect of such campaigns may have played an important role in pushing down the teen birth rate, Ventura said.
But experts acknowledge they are speculating. Hogue noted a lack of key data for 2009 that would answer questions about whether teens are having the same amount of sex, whether their use of contraception changed, or whether they were getting pregnant just as often as in earlier years but were having more abortions.
Abortion could be a factor, said Jaqui Johnson, 17, a senior in Des Moines, Iowa.
Because teens generally don’t plan pregnancies, she doubts the recession as an explanation. When financial considerations do creep into a teen’s conversation about pregnancy, it most likely involves a bleak assessment of their ability to support a child, Johnson said.
“If girls do get pregnant, they’re probably looking more into getting abortions” than teens may have in years past, she said.
None of the experts was able to explain an uptick in the teen birth rate in 2006 and 2007.
Also, there’s reason to rein in celebration of the 2009 numbers. The U.S. teen birth rate continues to be far higher than that of 16 other developed countries, according to a 2007 United Nations comparison that Brown cited.
Still, news of the large decline was a stunning and exciting surprise for advocates, Brown noted. “This is like a Christmas present,” she said.
Berlin – Investigators were waiting Tuesday for the results of a post-mortem examination on a third baby to die in as many days at a German hospital after bacteria contaminated their intravenous drips.
Two who had congenital heart defects died Saturday and the third, a baby born very prematurely, died on Monday evening at the intensive care ward of the hospital in the western city of Mainz.
Their feeding solutions had been tainted with Enterobacter cloacae, a common group of bacteria found in human faeces, and Escherichia hermannii, the chief doctor of Mainz University Clinic, Norbert Pfeiffer, said.
Police are still trying to find out how the infections happened and whether anyone can be charged with negligent homicide.
Infections during medical treatment are common in hospitals round the globe, with a 2007 survey showing that in 21 nations, an average 7.1 per cent of patients pick up a bug while in hospital.
That data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said Germany tended better than average with a rate of just 3.5 per cent. The news of the Mainz case prompted calls for German hospitals to drastically tighten up their checks.
German Health Minister Philipp Roesler said hospital hygiene would be on the agenda at his next talks with state health officials.
Eleven babies who were on so-called parenteral nutrition because they were too weak or too ill to be breast-fed received the tainted infusion.
The condition of four babies had stabilized by early Tuesday, but they remained gravely ill, the hospital said. The rest have recovered.
Post-mortem examinations of the first two babies to die left it unclear whether the bacterial contamination had been the actual cause of death, senior prosecutor Klaus-Peter Mieth said. The babies had been very ill before the contaminated infusion.
Mieth said the third baby to die had been born in the 24th week of pregnancy. Normally babies come to term after 40 weeks.
Mieth said he was not expecting any decisive results yet from laboratories doing microbiological studies of samples.
Enterobacter cloacae is a group of bacteria that has always been relatively immune to antibiotics. The lab tests may reveal if the type that contaminated the feeding solution originated from human faeces, rotting vegetable matter or some other source.
The case does not involve another bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which has seized public attention.
Hospital-acquired infections are often blamed on complacent staff who ignore checklists of hygiene precautions.
The infusions were mixed in the Mainz hospital pharmacy using solutions from commercial suppliers.
22 Sep 2010 06:11 AM
My baby is in first grade, but I might imagine that once you send a teen off to college, you worry less about their health. After all, they are almost grown and probably don’t need mama and daddy watching after them. Then again, maybe they do.
The President of the American College Health Association, Dr. Al Glass, as well as other health officials recently came up with the top 5 college student health concerns for National Public Radio (NPR).
Coming in at #5 was alcohol. While this may seem a bit cliche, drinking is still a big problem for college students. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 4 out of 5 college students drink. It’s not the drinking itself that is the problem – it’s the binge drinking. About 40 percent of those that said they drink reported going on a drinking binge within the last two weeks. And, almost 600,000 of those college students that do drink are injured each year because of it.
The #4 health concern for college students was exercise. The students are probably eating bad, drinking too much, missing sleep and all that plus lack of exercise can lead to weight gain. Students should get at least two and a half hours of exercise each week.
Infectious disease was the #3 health issue. While swine flu was a concern last year, there is no impending health concern this fall, but students still need to remember to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. There are also vaccines, such as Tdap, MCV4, and the HPV series, that you can suggest your college student get.
You will see that many of these issues go hand in hand. The #2 problem is sleep, or specifically the lack there of. Students may be up all night partying or pulling an all nighter, but regardless of the reason, lack of sleep combined with bad eating habits and lack of exercise might run down their immune system and make them more prone to catching an infectious disease. A study in a 2001 issue of Journal of American College Health found that only 11 percent of the college students sampled got good, quality sleep.
And finally, the #1 concern is mental health. The adjustment one must go through when entering college, such as leaving friends and family to enter a new environment, can cause a huge amount of stress. Add to that study related stress and mental health issues can arise. Many campuses are starting to realize this and offer programs to help students reduce stress.
College is supposed to be a fun, exciting time when your “baby” becomes a grownup, but you still need to keep a check on them to make sure they are safe and doing well.
(This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)
More effectively work out the upper body! US “from the Free Flexor ” That’s right dumbbell to be bent of the world’s first that (free flexor) was released. It seems that the patent pending as dumbbell which adopted a circular reinforcement
technology that can strengthen the muscles from every angle. A little obscene and wrong perspective? Also feel “Free Flexor please refer to the CM video of”.
Running is by far one of the cheapest ways to get fit. All you need are shoes, some gym/running clothes and you’re all set! It is common for most people who want to lose weight to begin some sort of a running regimen.
Running your first 5k is a great benchmark by which you can test your cardiovascular fitness. Running a 5k race (whether timed in an official event or by yourself) will not only challenge you but will also give you a sense of fulfillment when you finish. You know the feeling of accomplishing something you never thought you’d be able to achieve? That’s the feeling you’ll get when you run your first 5k. Anyone can run a 5k if you put your heart to it. If you haven’t run beyond 1k or more, then this guide is excellent for you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re on the heavy side and would like to run a 5k, you can do the guide below but please be sensitive about your knees. When you experience pain in your knees, as in pain in the joints, then they are experiencing too much pressure and impact when running. The way to go around this is to brisk walk instead. When you start to lose weight, there will be less pressure your knees and you can eventually progress to running.
Unless you’re coming off of an injury, I assume that you already know how to run. Who doesn’t? It’s a basic human survival skill. Our ancestors run to hunt and run to stay away from harm.
The 5k run is perfect for busy people such as myself. It’s neither too long such as a half-marathon (21k) nor too short (3k). It’s just right for a sprint (if you want to challenge yourself) or for a quick run (normal pacing).
While some people could run a 5k almost immediately, it’s also good to give the body some time to adapt to the stress of running a 5k.
The main idea behind the progression is that you’ll do two types of runs: slow/steady jog pace, fast and short. When training, do not mind your time, the first goal is to FINISH not to FINISH fast. You can worry about finishing fast when you’re able to complete a 5k already. Please note that there are many ways to train for a 5k but this is the way I did it.
The goal this week is to introduce your body to a 2km run, just to get a feel of it. A 5k is just a little over twice what you’re going to run here. The 1km fast pace run is to prepare and train your body for a little more cardiovascular exertion. This will help you increase your cardiovascular strength so you don’t gas out easily.
Monday – 2km run – slow/steady jog pace
Wednesday – 1km run – fast pace – as fast as you can, a level which you’re comfortable
Friday – 2km run – slow/steady jog pace
We ramp up the pace for the 2nd week by beginning with a 2km fast pace run. You’ll progress to running a 3k and end the week with a 1k fast pace run (try to run faster than your 1k fast run in week 1).
Monday – 2km run – fast pace
Wednesday 3km run – slow/steady pace
Friday – 1km run – fast pace
By week 3, you would’ve already have (hopefully) gotten a feel of how far a 5k really is when you’ve successfully finished a 3k. After all, that’s only 2k shy of 5k! Also by now, you would’ve already developed a certain cardiovascular fitness level that would be enough to last you 5k. You will be huffing and puffing yes, but you will not gas out (owing to the fast pace runs which really stretch your V02 max).
Week 3 is about running slow/steady progressively farther and farther starting with a 3k on Monday and ending with a 5k on Friday. Congratulations!
Monday – 3km run slow/steady
Wednesday – 4km run slow/steady
Friday – 5km run slow/steady
Running a 5k is a great way to find fitness. Your first goal is to finish a 5k and your next goal is to beat your time. I remember when I ran my first 5k, it took me over an hour! That’s because I literally walked most of the time! The next time I did a 5k, I was prepared. The sense of achievement was addicting and now I am running half marathons. All of this took less than a year but I always come back to that time when I trained for a 5k.