Tag: teen pregnancy

Top 5 Reasons to Invest in Adolescent Health

Global investments in adolescent health harvests significant economic gains

Recently headlines broke across all consumer and health media outlets that signified the importance of investing in teen health from a global financial perspective. Like any other professional who is in the landscape of improving adolescent health, this kind of global attention and correlation between teen health and the economy gets me excited!

The news referenced a study that highlighted a small investment in “empowering and protecting the world’s 1 billion adolescents can bring a 10-fold return.” Here’s what it said:

“Improving the physical, mental and sexual health of kids aged 10 to 19 – at a cost equivalent to US$4.60 per person per year – could result in a 10-fold economic return by preventing 12 million deaths and more than 30 million unwanted pregnancies.”

I can think of 1,000 reasons to invest in adolescent health, but here are my top 5:

  1. With fewer teens giving birth each year, a country’s young dependent population grows smaller in relation to the working-age population, creating a window of opportunity for rapid economic growth.
  2. Keeping teens safe and encouraging them to make smart decisions can help to break the spread of poverty and disadvantage across generations.
  3. The rapid physical, cognitive and psychosocial growth and development that takes place during adolescence influences an individual for the rest of his or her life.
  4. In three out of four cases of serious injury or death in adolescents, the common causes are preventable. Support in healthy decision-making will help set a pattern of healthy lifestyles and reduce morbidity, disability and premature mortality later in adulthood.
  5. This generation of adolescents will transform all our futures!

How you can take action!

  • The key to improving adolescent health is operating from a prevention mentality versus a crisis approach. Investing in a risk identification assessment tool will address the early onset of behaviors that can grow to be potentially harmful. Plus, RAAPS, a globally-recognized, evidence-based, standardized risk screening and behavior change counseling tool can pay for itself with the proper reimbursement codes.
  • When it comes to talking with teens about sexual health, things can get awkward. That’s why we developed ACT Sexual Health, a virtual health educator where teens respond to assessment questions on a tablet or other technology device and receive sexual health education specifically tailored to them. Upon completion, ACT generates a personalized safer sex action plan, health messages and customized referral sources.
  • Risk behaviors account for the majority of teen injury and premature death. In the face of these challenges, health professionals and parents need concrete, actionable strategies for productive discussions about risky behaviors. Teen Speak is a how-to guide for real talks with teens to foster strong relationships and trust-building during the most formative time in their lives.

A Closer Look at Fatherhood

The new report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics noted the teen birth rate declined 25 percent between 2007-2011—a record low. Teen birth rates fell at least 15 percent for all but two states during this most recent period of sustained decline.  There are many curriculums and programs aimed to reduce teen pregnancy; however, teen pregnancy is closely connected to the goal of promoting responsible fatherhood.

With Father’s Day approaching, RAAPS is taking a special look at how we can highlight responsible fatherhood.  As noted in The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s Why It Matters Publication:

–  Boys and girls without involved fathers are twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, twice as likely to end up in jail, and two to three times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.

–  Teen girls who don’t have a father in their life are two times more likely to initiate sexual activity early and are seven times more likely to get pregnant compared to girls with fathers present.

–  Also, teen girls who have a higher quality relationship with their fathers are less likely to initiate sexual activity compared to those who report a lower quality relationship with their fathers.

–  Teen boys who live with both parents initiate sex at an older age compared to teen boys in other family situations.

Sexual activity among teenage boys is declining.  When they are engaging in sex, more teen boys are reporting using dual methods of birth control.  Although we know there is more that can be done to send a message to teen boys to abstain from becoming a father until they are ready, it’s equally as important to remind fathers of the role they play in helping their own sons and daughters avoid becoming teen parents.  The Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) provides a great resource to address just that. This OAH course provides an overview of important insights and data on the unique and irreplaceable role that fathers (including teen fathers) play in the well-being of their children.  It equips organizations to effectively support fathers, consistently and for the long-term, and reduce the ill effects of father absence in communities.  View this resource.

Healthy Teen Network also highlights current data trends in The Unique Needs of Young Fathers publication.  View this resource.

From our family to yours, Happy Father’s Day!


Teen Pregnancy & Alcohol

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month & April was Alcohol Awareness Month.  To celebrate these months, we welcome our first guest blog post from St. Jude Retreats.

Teen pregnancy and alcohol often go hand in hand. When you drink alcohol you can often times lose your inhibitions, leading you to be careless about making responsible choices that could impact your future. Maybe a teen who typically chooses to use a condom would be way less carefree about using protection while under the influence of alcohol and as a result they may not use anything and risk the chance of becoming pregnant.

If you’re a teen and are currently engaging in drinking alcohol there are a few precautions you can take to avoid teen pregnancy.

1. If you’re sexually active and often drink at parties it may be in your best interest to get on a form of contraception either birth control pills or by using condoms. Today, most birth control is at a very low cost or sometimes free to a teen.

This way, if you do become sexually active while under the influence you will be protected almost 99% from pregnancy. It’s important to know that birth control does not guarantee that you will not get pregnant or protect you from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). You should always talk with your physician about side effects of taking birth control.

2. Avoid taking drinks from strangers, or putting yourself in dangerous situations. You may be thinking to yourself that this suggestion is common sense but statistics from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reveal that 60% of teen pregnancies today are from the act of rape. These statistics are not meant to scare you, but to rather prepare you to stay safe in situations where alcohol can be used as the main component to the rapist’s plan. There are certain drugs commonly referred to as “date rape drugs” that can be slipped into a drink and quickly dissolved. No matter if it is a stranger or a boy from study hall, you should avoid drinking alcoholic drinks that you did not pour or mix yourself. If you know someone who has been sexually abused or raped, it is best to call your local authorities immediately.

3. Lastly, you should make sure that you fully understand the consequences of drinking before you start practicing drinking and sexual intercourse together. Pregnancy will completely change your life and if you’re a young teen you will certainly not be prepared. Your life will take a new turn that may include missing out of some important milestones in your life such as graduating high school, attending college, your friends may avoid you, and most importantly you will be responsible for a new life. There are many other serious consequences of teen pregnancy.

The consequences of drinking could at times be just as life changing as early pregnancy. Regardless of the consequences, the choice to partake in these events are yours, but being prepared and educated is a responsible way to start to plan for your college and adult years. If you’re experiencing any of these issues it may be best to talk to a parent or guardian who can further help you make the right choices through your teen years.

Melissa currently writes for St. Jude Retreats, a non 12 step alternative to traditional alcohol and drug rehab. As well as writing for St. Jude’s, Melissa also enjoys blogging about health and relationships.


Celebrating the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Today we are celebrating the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.  Our goal is to focus on teens and the importance of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood through sharing a variety of resources and data.

What does the data tell us?  Our teen pregnancy rate has declined by over 42%  and the teen birth rates have been cut nearly in half.  Although great news, we must do more. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among comparable countries.  According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, nearly 3 in 10 girls in the U.S. will get pregnant by the age 20. More than 2,000 teen girls in the United States get pregnant every day. Our participation in the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy hopes to offer teens the opportunity to think carefully about risky behaviors, sex, contraception and the possibility of pregnancy.

Resources for teens, parents and those working with youth:

  • –  Teens nationwide can participate in the online quiz, which challenges them to think carefully about what they might do “in the moment” though a series of interactive scenarios.  Teens can insert themselves and their friends directly into the quiz by creating personalized avatars (a graphical representation of the user).
  • –  Adults agree that teen pregnancy is a problem.  View this informative infographic to learn more.
  • –  Want to talk about teen pregnancy with teens, but don’t know where to start? Use the National Day discussion guide to start a conversation about sex, love, relationships, and teen pregnancy!