Kern County Health officials reports teen pregnancy continues to decrease
Last Updated: 81 days ago
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Teen pregnancy continues to be a big problem across the nation, but in Kern County there is a changing trend. Prevention education and social media are among the tools driving new statistics.
There are 130 fewer cases of teen pregnancy in Kern County and health officials say the work isn’t over yet.
“As you recognize the problem, then you want to address it from multiple angles that you can,” said Dr. Claudia Jonah of the Kern County Public Health Department.
Since 2008, leaders with the Kern County Health Department have seen a steady decrease in teen pregnancy from more than 200 cases to about 1,700 just last year.
“The numbers have been very high in the past numbers of years and there are a number of programs that have gone into place to focus on helping teens with decision making and understanding the impacts of themselves and to their children,” she said.
Many teens are on some kind of social media site and that’s where health experts target most users with educational postings and information.
“I wouldn’t mind as long as it reaches the people who need to see it,” said high school student Maria Rodriguez, 17, of Bakersfield.
There are also links to organizations that encourage teens to make the right choices.
“I don’t think teens should be getting pregnant. We have our whole lives ahead of us,” she said.
Public Health officials reports cases of pregnant girls under the age of 15 holding steady at 18, which is a dramatic change from 70 in 1994.
“Some of them really surprise me because they are shy and they really don’t talk to you or you’re like ‘wow’ she’s pregnant,” said 18-year-old Joshua Christensen.
Teens admit that ultimately its not social media calling the shots, but themselves.
“I don’t think social media will help these kids who are getting pregnant because it’s really social media is not going to help them,” he said.
The teen birth rate around the country is also down. Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a 52 percent decline, which is the lowest since 1940.
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