(05/07/2016)
The teen birth rate in West Virginia remains high compared with most us states, but Dr. Rahul Gupta with the state Department of Health and Human Resource, says the rate has dropped over the last two years. "We've seen about a 15 percent decline," said Dr. Gupta.

According to a 2013-2014 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall birth rate for white, black and Hispanic teenage females ages 15-19 in West Virginia was 38.3 for every 1,000 females compared with the national average of 25.

The latest 2015 WV Kids Count survey says that the two exceptions that have worsened in the Mountain State, the percent of low birth-weight babies and children in poverty.

However, according to Kids Count 2015 the infant mortality and death rate among children in Calhoun County is among the worst in West Virginia, although the birth rate among teens was relatively low, the county ranking 20th among the 55 counties.

The rate has declined significantly over the last 25 years, Gupta said, because there's been more education to teen girls in schools, although sex education regarding birth control varies widely from school system to school system.

Local options regarding teaching sex education often lean against teaching about birth control based on the premise that the teaching promotes promiscuity.

Most teen births in West Virginia occur in the southern part of the state, according to the report. Gupta said that has a lot to do with the social and economic conditions. as well as several other factors.

The state DHHR has been working with the state Department of Education and others to continue to provide educational opportunities to teenagers about life planning. Gupta said most families are also talking with their kids more.


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