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In honor of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, the Office of Adolescent Health on May 2 hosted a webcast on global prevention strategies. Dr. Robert W. Blum, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, began the webcast by comparing U.S. teen pregnancy rates to those in other countries. Then he shared what works to prevent teen pregnancy at home and abroad.
Here are some of the highlights from Dr. Blum's hour-long presentation:
Nearly 750,000 teens ages 15 to 19 became pregnant in the United States in 2008. Another way of saying that is that 68 teen girls in the United States out of every 1,000 became pregnant that year.
The same year, 40 teen girls in the United States out of every 1,000 gave birth--the highest birth rate among all industrialized countries that year. Russia had the next highest birth rate among industrialized nations, with 30 teen girls out of every 1,000 giving birth.
Developing nations such as Trinidad, Tobago and Tonga had birth rates similar to the United States.
Countries with very low birth rates include Switzerland, where only 4 teen girls out of every 1,000 gave birth.
Dr. Blum spoke about common themes in global pregnancy prevention. Prevention strategies are more effective, for example, when agencies work to build resources in young people’s families and communities instead of just trying to change their behaviors.
The presentation also highlighted international efforts to empower women through skill-building programs and small loans. While these projects might look different in Kentucky than say, Kenya, building young people's knowledge and support systems can help them value themselves and their bodies more highly--wherever they live.