The rates of teenage pregnancy are falling fast in Georgia. Local health experts say that's good news for many reasons. There is a lot going on in south Georgia to help prevent teenage pregnancy.
After years of abstinence and contraceptive education in schools around our region, health officials are starting to notice major decreases in the number of teenage pregnancies, down by nearly 42 percent in Georgia over the past few years.
Jennifer Steedley of South Health District says, "When you see a drop in teen pregnancy rates, you also see an increase in high school graduation rates and poverty levels go down; it all works together.”
Around Georgia, the news is good with pregnancy rates down in all areas; down 48 percent in African-Americans; down 45 percent among whites.
Teenage pregnancy experts say the reason why the Peach State is seeing a reduction in these numbers is because the message of prevention is being spread all through the state, anywhere teens may be.
Health educator Lauren Lester says, "We have to go to the kids; they're not coming to us, so that's why we're out there in the schools, in the churches, getting to the kids because that's where they are."
But the work isn't over, considering teen pregnancy rates in Lowndes and Tift Counties continue to be above the state average.
"We do see some good decreases that we're proud of, and we've got some programs in place to help," said Steedley.
It’s helping reverse a trend, and according to the health experts, improving the quality of life for many people in our region.
A special youth summit on teen pregnancy and other youth issues will be held in Valdosta this Saturday at the Conference Center.