Dayton Daily News (12.01.11) - Monday, December 19, 2011
Preliminary data show a decline in Ohio's teen birth rate for
the third straight year, and health experts say the drop
indicates teenagers are having safer and less sex.
In 2010, the state Department of Health recorded 34 births per
1,000 teens ages 15-19. That compares to 38.8 births in 2009
and 41 births in 2008. Nationally, the teen birth rate in 2010
was 34.3 per 1,000 girls under age 20, according to CDC.
"I think we are staring square in the face of one of the
nation's real great success stories of the past few decades,"
said Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and
Unplanned Pregnancy. "A combination of less sex and more
contraception is driving the teen birth rate down."
Albert said fear of contracting STDs is a major reason for
teens practicing safer sex or delaying sex. In addition,
social media and reality TV shows are exposing teens to the
harsh challenges of parenting when money is tight and jobs are
Making the choice to use contraceptives or delay having sex is
rooted in education, said Sarah Highstein, pediatric
psychologist with Children's Medical Center of Dayton. While
these can be awkward topics for parents to broach with their
children, using "conversation triggers" such as TV shows,
movies, commercials or current events can help, she said.
"Studies consistently show that when parents talk early and
often to their kids about sex, the kids are more likely to
delay having sex and are more likely to use protection when
they become sexually active," said Highstein.