Teen pregnancies down

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:33 PM

While the number of pregnancies in teens age 15-19 slightly decreased to about 22 percent in 2012, teen pregnancies have dropped from 32 percent in 2006, according to the 2012 Ottawa County Department of Public Health report. 


Overall in Ottawa County, there were 179 live births in 2012, which is down from 201 live births in 2011. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports fewer than 330,000 babies were born in 2011 to 15-19 year olds. 


Nationally, teen birth rates fell about 6 percent from 2011 to 2012.


Heather Alberda, sexuality educator for the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, said the decline could be due to many factors.


The recent Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey also found that fewer teens are engaging in sexual activity. About 25 percent of teens reported they had oral or sexual intercourse in 2013, which decreased slightly from about 31 percent in 2011.


The average age of a senior who first had sexual intercourse and oral sex was 15.5 years old.


The survey found just over 77 percent, or about 2,074 teens, strongly agree or agree there are consequences when someone their age has sexual intercourse, which was an increase from about 73 percent, or 1,107 teens. 


Alberda said she believes parents and perceptions carry a large influence.


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