- CDC’s newly released Winnable Battles final report shows meaningful improvements in key public health areas.
- Since 2009, rates of teen births and youth and adult smoking have declined significantly, and between 2008 and 2014, central line-associated bloodstream infections in acute care hospitals decreased by 50%.
- A color-coded dashboard shows where more work is needed, especially in obesity, foodborne illness, and motor vehicle injuries.
Teen births have been dropping steadily.
- In 2009, the number of births to teenage mothers was 409,802 — a birth rate of 37.9 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19.
Progress in Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Major decrease in teen births between 2007 – 2015
CDC / NCHS, National Vital Statistics System
Trends in Teen Pregnancy Winnable Battle Indicator
Trends in the rate of births among adolescent females ages 15 – 19, 2007 – 2015
CDC / NCHS, National Vital Statistics System
Considerations in Choosing Teen Pregnancy as Winnable Battle
- Even in a climate of dropping rates in recent decades, considerable disparities existed in the rates of teen pregnancy and birth among the nation’s racial and ethnic groups. Together, 57% of teen births in 2014 were to African American and Hispanic youth, although they represent only 35% of the total population of 15 – 19 year old females.
- Teen childbearing costs U.S. taxpayers $9.4 billion annually.
- Teen pregnancies can have immediate and long-term negative effects for teen parents and their children, as well as create substantial social and economic costs to our society.
- Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls, and their children also are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school.
- First funded in 2010, the HHS Office on Adolescent Health, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of adolescents to enable them to become healthy, productive adults, opened up new opportunities to collaborate on teen pregnancy prevention.
Challenges / Obstacles
- Despite gains, the United States has one of the highest rates of teen births of all other industrialized countries.
CDC Contributions in Teen Pregnancy Winnable Battle
By focusing on a specific set of strategies including support for access to contraception, increased uptake of the most effective types of contraception, and improving the quality of family planning services offered, teen pregnancy rates continue to decline.
Strengthen effective clinical interventions and promote the use of the most effective contraceptive methods
- In 2014, CDC, in collaboration with the Office of Population Affairs (OPA), released the Quality Family Guidelines, giving all providers access to national, evidence-based guidance on family planning service delivery, including specific recommendations for serving adolescent clients. This followed the previous development and release in 2010 of the U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (US MEC) and, in 2013, the U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use (US SPR), which together comprise comprehensive evidence-based guidance for providing reproductive health services and offering appropriate contraception to adults and adolescents.
- Developed and disseminated provider tools to support widespread understanding and use of the Medical Eligibility Criteria and Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, and for the QFP Guidelines. For example, worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics to develop and pilot a training course for pediatricians to ensure pediatricians have the knowledge, skills and motivation to screen adolescents for sexual activity, and to counsel them about contraception and other reproductive health matters.
- CDC, in partnership with the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), implemented community-wide initiatives in 10 communities to reduce teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates. This program has:
- Reached 53,428 youth with evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to prevent teen pregnancy.
- Provided contraceptive and reproductive health services to over 50,000 individual adolescents through 63 partner clinics.
- Increased long acting reversible contraception (LARC) coverage by 80% among adolescent clients served by health center partners, particularly among African American and white adolescents between 15 and 19 years of age. LARC includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants.
Support health system changes to increase access to LARC
- After developing and disseminating recommendations and guidelines stating that LARC are safe and appropriate for adolescents, Teen Pregnancy Winnable Battle activities include identifying and recommending approaches for addressing health system barriers to LARC access. CDC, in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), worked to disseminate information and provide learning opportunities to support removing barriers to the use of LARC. Working with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMCS) and other partners, CDC identified barriers to Medicaid payment for post-partum LARC placement, and has supported peer to peer information sharing among states to develop practices to reduce payment barriers. Improvements in contraceptive access, including LARC, were reported in a recent study as a primary determinant of the decline in teen pregnancy.