Drop In Teen Pregnancies Is Due To More Contraceptives, Not Less Sex | Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News reports on a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health that found the 36 percent decline in the teen birth rate from 2007 to 2013 was largely due to increased use of contraceptives and not to decreases in sexual activity.

How does this result fit into the conceptual frameworks we use in population health science? What does it tell us about how to allocate resources to interventions seeking to lower teen birth rates even further? Given what we know about fetal origins of long term health, what spillover effects could we expect?Capture

Source: Drop In Teen Pregnancies Is Due To More Contraceptives, Not Less Sex | Kaiser Health News

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One thought on “Drop In Teen Pregnancies Is Due To More Contraceptives, Not Less Sex | Kaiser Health News

  1. I think this data is very interesting, given all that we know about teen pregnancy and health outcomes for both mother and baby. One “study” that wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the Kaiser Report happened in Colorado – in 2009, the state government decided to offer IUDs and other contraceptive implants for free to teenagers and poor women to see if they would be utilized and effective. According to Colorado’s data from 2009 to 2013, the birthrate among teenagers dropped 40%, the abortion rate fell 42%, and showed similar declines among unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school. In 2009, half of all first births to women in the poorest areas of the state happened by their 21st birthdays. By 2014, half of first births in these areas happened after their 24th birthdays. Many are arguing that delaying childbirth, especially among low SES women is one of the most effective (simplest, fastest, cheapest) ways to reduce poverty because it allows these young women (and men) to delay parenthood until they are able to get a job. And this intervention appears to be very cost-effective as well: Colorado’s health department estimates that every dollar spent on long-acting birth control saved $5.85 for the state’s Medicaid program. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/science/colorados-push-against-teenage-pregnancies-is-a-startling-success.html)

    I think Colorado’s example could be applied across the country, but it will be important to ensure that people are well-educated about these other types of birth control (specifically dispelling fears about IUDs) in order to ensure that women actually choose to use them. Allowing families to plan more effectively has the potential to save lots of money (e.g., decreased government spending), as well as generate money (e.g., increased employment leads to more tax revenue). Given this cost-effectiveness and its efficacy among all populations (especially low SES groups), providing free (or reduced) long-term birth control methods could be an upstream intervention that improves health across many, many domains.

    Like

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