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Teen Births More Common in the Mississippi Delta

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Teen Births More Common in the Mississippi Delta
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A close look at the Mississippi Delta Counties
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Teenage girls living in the Delta are more likely to get pregnant than those in the rest of the state, according to a recent analysis. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

The 2018 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Report reveals that more girls ages 15 to 19 are having children in the Mississippi Delta. The analysis conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation uses a variety of statistics to measure health factors and outcomes. Tunica County has the highest rates of teenage births, Quitman and Coahoma tie at second. The analysis also suggests high teenage birth rates may result in unfavorable health outcomes for young mothers and their children.

Aliana Havrilla is with County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

"Every child really deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy. When children experience poverty the chances for poor health are high. They are less likely to have access to well rounded well resourced and quality schools and they have fewer chances to be prepared for living wage jobs leading to upward economic mobility and good health," said Havrilla.

According to the report, teen birth rates are associated with unsafe sexual activity. The Delta counties mentioned above are also ranked most prevalent for the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Christopher Cox is with Teen Health Mississippi. He says many teens simply don't know about the sexual health programs available to them.

"In those counties, a lot of them don't even know that these services exist. If we kind of educate these young people about their sexual health and also educate the parents about sexual health, we can really foster those conversations to go on at home, foster those conversations to go on at school and with their doctors and providers," said Cox.

More information on the report is available at countyhealthrankings.org. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.