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David Morgan
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Decline in Teen Birth Rates

December 18, 2014 - Family Planning - Information

The BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line provides confidential, factually accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message. A young person simply texts a question, and a trained health educator responds within 24 hours.

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics 2013 vital records data reveals a 10% drop in one year (2012 to 2013) in the state’s birth rates for both 15-17 and 18-19 year old teens.

The decline is the latest in what has been a substantial decrease in teen birth rates in New Mexico in the last 15 years. Birth rates for teens between the ages of 15 to 17 years old have fallen 56% since 1998. Birth rates for teens 18-19 years of age have also fallen 36% from a rate of 108.8 to 69.3 per 1,000 females in that age group.

Despite the latest year-to-year decrease, the New Mexico teen birth rates continue to be above the national rates in each teen age group. According to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report (the most recent data available), New Mexico has the highest birth rates for teenagers, ages 15-19, in the nation.

“Though we have made progress in reducing teen pregnancy over the past 15 years, still far too many teens are having babies. Teen pregnancy significantly increases school dropout rates, poverty, and poor health outcomes for mother and child,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Preventing teen pregnancy protects the health and quality of life of teenagers and their families. Reducing teen pregnancies is one of the Department’s priorities.”

New Mexico’s teen pregnancy prevention programs include:

  • The BrdsNBz Text Messaging Service lets teens text “NMTeen” and parents text “NMParent” to 66746 to opt-in to the service. From there, they can text their sexual health questions to 66746 and get medically accurate answers within 24 hours. New Mexico in 2013 became the second state in the country to offer this service statewide.
  • The Teen Outreach Program (TOP), which reaches teens in grades 6 through 12, has been proven successful in preventing teen pregnancy and increasing academic success by increasing life skills on a number of different topics, including healthy relationships, communication, values clarification, examining influences, goal setting, decision making, sexual health, and community service learning.
  • ¡Cuídate! is a Hispanic culturally-based program reducing HIV risk among teens ages 13 to 18. ¡Cuídate! means “take care of yourself” in Spanish and emphasizes risk reduction strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use through interactive activities.
  • Raíces y Alas (Roots and Wings in Spanish) is an education workshop which works with the most important educator of sexual health for teens – their parents. The skill building program helps parents learn how to have more conversations with their teens about sex and sexual health and make those conversations positive.

Other findings in the new 2013 vital records data center on the number of deaths statewide:

  • For 2013, 16,780 New Mexico resident deaths were reported. The age-adjusted death rate was 750.9 deaths per 100,000 standard population. This is highest number of deaths ever reported for the state, and resulted in a slight increase in the death rate over the previous year.
  • Far more men died last year in New Mexico than women. For 2013, the overall age-adjusted death rate for New Mexico males was 900.5 per 100,000 population compared to 622.7 for females.
  • The death rate among men was far greater than that for women. Women were more likely to have died at 85 years or older (36.1%) compared to men (21.0%).
  • In 2012 and 2013, cancer was the leading cause of death in New Mexico based on numbers of deaths. In 2013, 40.8% of all deaths were attributed to cancer and heart disease.
  • New Mexico’s share of deaths from unintentional injuries (7.3%) and chronic liver disease (2.7%) was notably higher compared to that for United States, 4.9% and 1.3%. This was also the case for Diabetes and Suicide, while Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease made up a larger proportion of deaths for the United States.
  • The death rate for total injuries in New Mexico was 55% higher than the United States rate. The New Mexico motor vehicle accident rate was 29% higher than the U.S rate. The homicide rate was 26% higher and the suicide rate was 65% higher than the US rate.
  • New Mexico’s 2013 age-adjusted death rate for alcohol-induced deaths (21.8) was nearly 3 times higher than the 2010 national rate (7.6). New Mexico’s rate for drug-induced deaths (22.5) was almost twice as high as the U.S. rate (12.9).

Please visit the Teen Family Planning section of our website to learn more.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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