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For Release:  May 3, 2011 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – (405) 271-5601

Oklahoma’s Adolescents Reminded that “Sex Has Consequences”

Oklahoma is first in the nation (worst) for birth rates to teen girls ages 18-19.

Many teens say they are concerned about pregnancy, but still think, "It can't happen to me."  Yet Oklahoma females ages 19 and younger gave birth to 7,581 babies in 2008.  Of those births, 6,197 (81.7 percent) were to unmarried females ages 19 and younger. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, teen childbearing costs Oklahoma taxpayers an estimated $149 million dollars each year.

Teens nationwide and in Oklahoma are expected to participate in activities observing the tenth annual “National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy” tomorrow, May 4, and during the month of May. The message is straightforward: “Sex Has Consequences.”

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Maternal and Child Health Service encourages teens to go to www.StayTeen.org to participate in a number of online activities including a short, scenario-based quiz (available in English and Spanish).  The online quiz challenges young people to think carefully about what they would do in a number of risky sexual situations. 

National vital statistics data for 2008 (the latest national data available), indicate that compared to other states and the District of Columbia, Oklahoma ranked:

  • 1st in the nation (worst) for birth rates to teen girls ages 18-19;
  • 5th highest in the nation for birth rates to teen girls ages 15-19; and
  • 6th highest in the nation for younger teens, ages 15-17.

“Findings from the OSDH 2009 Oklahoma Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a survey of 9th-12th grade students in Oklahoma public high schools, indicate that 51.2 percent of males and 50.7 percent of females have had sexual intercourse. There is a great need for more parental and educational interventions to help prevent teen pregnancy,” said Teresa Ryan, OSDH adolescent coordinator.

For more information about teen pregnancy prevention efforts, visit these websites: http://www.TheNationalCampaign.org/national and http://cah.health.ok.gov.

 

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