NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health is observing National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month in communities across the state this May to raise awareness about the impact of teen pregnancy as well as education and prevention efforts. Special emphasis will be given on May 4, 2016 when TDH will join partners from across the country in celebrating the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. This observance helps teens understand the consequences of unplanned pregnancy and think about how to best prepare for success in achieving their educational and vocational goals.
“Teen pregnancy has been declared as one of six ‘winnable battles’ by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we are moving in the right direction in Tennessee,” said TDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health Michael Warren, MD, MPH. “Consistent with national trends, Tennessee’s birth rates for adolescents aged 15-19 steadily declined from 53.8 in 2008 to 33.0 in 2014, and teen pregnancy rates declined from 64.7 to 37.9 per 1,000 teens. We are proud of this progress and continue our efforts to educate parents, teens, health professionals and other community partners about ways to further reduce pregnancies among young Tennesseans.”
The mission of the Tennessee Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program is to prevent unplanned adolescent pregnancies through a comprehensive, community-wide, collaborative effort that promotes abstinence, self-respect, constructive life options and responsible decision-making about sexuality, healthy relationships and the future.
“Tennessee should be proud of its teens, families and communities for the positive choices they have made,” said TAPPP Program Director Kimothy Warren, MS, MCHES. “Age-appropriate conversations about healthy relationships should begin with both boys and girls early in a child's life and continue through young adulthood. Studies show teens cite parents as having the most influence on their choices and behavior around sexual activity, and we are happy to work with parents to help equip them to have those conversations with their children.”
Despite successes, adolescent pregnancy remains a significant problem in Tennessee. Although Tennessee’s teen birth rate has consistently declined, it is still markedly higher than the national rate of 24.2. Adolescent births have serious consequences for the teenage mother and her baby. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancy, adolescent parenthood is linked to many negative consequences for mothers, fathers and their children. Compared with those who delay childbearing, adolescent mothers are more likely to drop out of school, remain unmarried and live in poverty. Their children are more likely to be born at low birth weight, grow up poor, live in single-parent households, experience abuse and neglect and enter the child welfare system.
The Department of Health has adopted a broad-based approach to providing services to the community to reduce teen pregnancy. Primary areas of focus include implementing a wide variety of approved, evidence-based abstinence education programs; increasing high school graduation rates; reducing the rate of repeat pregnancies; reducing overall teen pregnancy rates; reducing adverse childhood experiences and improving and fostering self-sufficiency.
For more information about teen pregnancy programs and services, visit:
Tennessee Department of Health Adolescent Pregnancy Program
The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.