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The teen pregnancy is mainly a critical health problem to the public, which affects the social, economic future, health, and education future of both the child and the mother. According to the Virginia Adolescent Reproductive Health Facts, (2008) from the Office of the Adolescent Health, Virginia was ranked as being number 37 out of the current 51 states in the pregnancies of the females aged between 15 to 19 years. The scale used involved 1 being the highest rate of teen pregnancy and 51 being the lowest rate of teen pregnancy (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). In 2011, Virginia was number 40 out of the same 51 states. I will carry out the needs assessments by doing researchers from various reliable websites such as Virginia.gov database, Virginia Health Department, guttmacher.org databases, Office of Adolescent Health databases, the Virginian Pilot archives, and The Washington Post archives. Through gathering data pertaining to the teen pregnancy in Virginia, I will manage to come up with a good conclusion of how the rates of teen pregnancy in Virginia. I will also discuss others factors such as food preferences, the consumption patterns, nutritional level, the population overweight, the population underweight, and extent of the drug abuse among the pregnant teens in Virginia. This paper will focus on the teen pregnancy in Virginia by providing various statistic data.
In Virginia over the past decade, there has been observed to be an increment in the rate of teen pregnancies. According to the Virginia Department of the Health (VDH) in 2003, the birth rates for the Virginia teens was about 36.1/1,000 females who were aged between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. But in the year 2013, the birth rate was found to have dropped up to 20.1 births that gave Virginia the twelfth lowest incidence of the teen births among 50 fifty states. As compared to its peers, the state of Virginia had a relatively lower rate than Tennessee (34.7) and North Carolina (28.4) though it was slightly higher than the Maryland States, which had 19.4. Massachusetts was the one that led the nation with approximately 12.1/1,000 teen births in the same period (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). According to the Guttmacher Institute, (2010) the rate of teenage pregnancy in Virginia increased to about 57/1,000 female teen births. This was according to the trend that was established even among other states. At that particular time, Virginia ranked 22nd lowest in the United States. The other states like Maryland had 57/1,000, North Carolina had 59/1,000, Tennessee’s had 62/1,000, and New Hampshire was the leading state with about 28/1,000 females teen pregnancies. Further information from VDH showed that Southwest had the highest rate of teen pregnancies with 44.7/1,000 while the Northern had the lowest with 18.0/1,000 female teen pregnancies. In 2013, the overall report by VDH showed that there were 7,335 teen pregnancies in Virginia, which calculated to an average of approximately 27.8/1,000 females of ages between 15 to 19 years old.
According to the Virginia.gov database, (2010) about 54% of all the pregnancies in Virginia, they were unintended. This is approximately 84,000 pregnancies. The teen pregnancy, which is my concern was 48/1,000 women who were between the ages of 15 to 19 years old (Virginia.gov, 2010). At that particular time, the national teen pregnancy was about 57/1,000 female teen births. Though it was not clear of how many of the teen females performed an abortion, about 52% of all the unintended pregnancies in Virginia resulted in successful births and about 34% of abortions, while the rest were miscarriages. In the same period the state and federal governments mainly spent $506.5 million for all the unintended pregnancies. About $312.0 million were provided by federal government and approximately $194.6 million were settled by the state.
Further data from VDH shows that teen pregnancy in Virginia is a problem that require attention from the public. The number of births to the females of under the ages of 20 years in the United States was approximately 333,746. In the Virginia itself they were found to be 6,581 female pregnancies in Virginia itself (Virginia Department of Health, 2011). The number of births under the age of 15 years in the United States were 3,974 and in the Virginia alone it was 57 female pregnancies. The females between the ages of 15 to 17 were about 95,538 in the United States and 1,709 in Virginia alone. Those within the ages of 18 to 19 were about 234,234 in the United States and 4,815 in Virginia alone. For the females between the ages of 15 to 19, they were 329,772 in the United States and 6,524 in Virginia alone. When we consider the ethnicity or the race of the mother it was found that the number of births of the Non-Hispanic White was 130,198 in the United States and 3,119 in Virginia. For the non-Hispanic black the number of births was 79,936 and 2,428 in Virginia. For the American Indian or the Alaska Native, the number of births was 6,897 in the United States, and their rate was not clear in Virginia. For the Asian or the Pacific Islander, the number of births was 5,773 in the United States and 76 in Virginia. For the Hispanic the number of births was 111,236 in the United States and 926 in Virginia. The teen birth rates for the United States were 31.3/1,000 in the United States and 24.5/1,000 in Virginia (Virginia Department of Health, 2011). The teen birth rates for those between the ages of 15 to 17 were 15.4/1,000 in the United States and 11.2/1,000 in Virginia. The teen birth rates for those aged between 18 to 19 years were 54.1/1,000 in the United States and 42.7/1,000 in Virginia. In Virginia, the percentage of the females under the age of 20 years was 47% for the non-Hispanic white, 37% for the non-Hispanic black, 1% for Asian or the Pacific Islander, and 14% of the Hispanic. This shows that teen births in Virginia did not start currently, but it started a long time ago around a decade ago. But according to the above data it is clear that teen births pregnancies has been dropping gradually in Virginia (Elizabeth, 2010).
Food preferences and consumption among the Virginians teen females usually ranges from grains, fruits, vegetables, and junk foods. Junk foods are the most preferable choice of food by the Virginian teen females together with soft drinks. The females mainly take grains and meet the minimum intake as often recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid. Females consume only 0.8 servings of the whole grain. Though some eat fruits, it was found that about 38% of the teen females who are pregnant did not consume any food. The intake of the dairy products is usually low, particularly among pregnant teens. According to VDH, about 9% of the females between the ages of 14 to 18 and approximately 25% of the teen females of ages between 9-13 years that took those products. What was found to be consumed in large quantity is the soft drinks where about 70-85% of the youth between the ages of 9 to 18 years old consumed soft drinks daily. Almost about 20% of the teen pregnant females of ages between 14 to 18 years old consumed over 3 servings daily.
The nutritional level of the pregnant teens in Virginia was found to be poor, and that was the reason they gave birth to underweight infants. This was because most of the pregnant teens mainly lacks support from their families since they are not yet married. Also, they do not visit prenatal care services since they have not accepted themselves and are shy of their pregnant conditions. It is during those ages that most teens are in school, whereby pregnancy results to them dropping out of school to take care of their needs. Hence, since they have no close companions during their pregnant times, and due to stress, their nutrition is very poor.
The rate of overweight of the teens in Virginia of ages between 15 to 19 years is 29.8%. The rate of underweight for the same population is low of about 7%. During the first years of pregnancy of teens in Virginia, they lose appetite for eating making them lose more weight. But after the second month, the teens mostly got accepted by their families and the society and the level of stress drops. This results to the pregnant teens eating a lot and they gain more weight during the period they are pregnant until they delivered after which they go back to their normal condition. The drug abuse among the teens is prevalent among the students in Grades 12 and Grade 19. The females who smoked in the year 2011 were found to be 16%. Those who chewed tobacco, dip or snuff were found to be about 2%. Those who drank alcohol were found to be approximately 19% (Virginia Department of Health, 2011). Those who used marijuana were found to be 31% in Virginia. Those using any form of cocaine were found to be about 2% in Virginia. It was found to be easy for the students in school to obtain drugs. Most of the teens about 9% usually got the drugs from the gas station or store station. The students are usually generous while in school and many obtain the drugs from the friends. When the teens are at home it was found that it is hard for them to obtain those drugs. The extent of tobacco and alcohol sales among the teens is usually done by their fellow teens. Only a small population that get the drugs from outside but a majority are given or purchase from their fellow colleagues.
The prevalence of arrests related to alcohol and other drugs was about 5%. These are the students who get so much drunk or abuse other drugs such as marijuana and pain killers where their teachers recognize. But most of them are not easily arrested especially the one’s distributing them since they know how to use them appropriately. Particularly, towards the teen pregnant females in Virginia there was no hospital admission recognized by VDH due to abuse of tobacco, alcohol, or other drug use.
There are various leisure and exercise opportunities available for teens especially when they are in school. These activities involves drawing, playing instruments such as piano and guitar, music, drama clubs, religious clubs, football, basketball, hockey, chess, and volleyball among others. All these are provided to the students to ensure that they have a variety to do during their leisure time. The activities especially those that involve physical, pose health safety since they reduce obesity among the students. The teens during the ages of 15 to 19 years are mainly very sensitive to sexual activity. They are very active since it is during their adolescence ages (Virginia Department of Health, 2011). There is some population about 3% who adopt homosexuality as a result of the peer, though the majority remain heterosexuality.
A majority of the teenagers are often aware of the unwanted pregnancies and use contraceptives during performing of their sexual activity. The very common contraceptives available and easy to use is the male and female condoms. But through some accidents during using condoms may result in unwanted pregnancy. The teens neglect various safety practices such as using a seat belt. If the teens are not getting proper counseling, it is during that age that one feels doing what they want without minding about others. If not properly guided, the teens usually destroy their lives through the involvement in bad behaviors like abuse of drugs to a point of dropping out of school.
My recommendations towards reducing teen pregnancy in Virginia is educating them towards the dangers involved in having unprotected sex. The teens especially between the ages of 12 to 19 years should be educated that unprotected sex may lead to unwanted pregnancies and spread of other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. For the homosexuality, which is now legalized by some states, the teens should be educated about the dangers of one involving himself or herself in those behaviors. What leads to the teens doing bad things is due to-+ abuse of drugs. Due to curiosity, the teens try out many things whereby in some cases, they become unable to leave the behaviors (Ralph Northam, 2015). They should also be taught about dangers of drugs such as those who smoke cigarettes have a high probability of getting liver cirrhosis. The teens should be counseled and closely monitored to tune them towards being important people in the future. They should be encouraged to involve themselves to various clubs during their leisure time to prevent them from thinking how to perform bad behaviors. The teens should be encouraged to quit some practices that put their lives at great risk like driving while drunk. The schools in Virginia should introduce Health Eating Programs that guide the students of how to each balanced diet to avoid obesity and underweight. They should be told to control the rate of consumption of junk food and soft drinks that contribute to high intake calorie and fat.
In conclusion, teen pregnancy among teens in Virginia is high though as compared to the past is has been dropping gradually. The rate of overweight of the teens in Virginia of ages between 15 to 19 years is 29.8%. The rate of underweight for the same population is low of about 7%. The teens should first be encouraged to get educated first and after that they can get married and get pregnant at their own will. Especially those female teens who get pregnant must first drop out of school to take care of the baby. This results in a waste of time where a few go back to school. After delivering, the student now has responsibilities and pressures of life increases that shift their attention from concentrating on school work. Hence, female teen pregnancy should be discouraged by guiding and counseling the teens in their respective schools. 54% of all the pregnancies in Virginia, they were unintended which is approximately 84,000 pregnancies. The teen pregnancy, which is my concern was 48/1,000 women who were between the ages of 15 to 19 years old My recommendations towards reducing teen pregnancy in Virginia is educating them towards the dangers involved in having unprotected sex. The teens especially between the ages of 12 to 19 years should be educated that unprotected sex may lead to unwanted pregnancies and spread of other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. For the homosexuality, which is now legalized by some states, the teens should be educated about the dangers of one involving himself or herself in those behaviors. Teen pregnancy in Virginia is a problem that require attention from the public. The number of births to the females of under the ages of 20 years in the United States was approximately 333,746. In the Virginia itself they were found to be 6,581 female pregnancies in Virginia itself.
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