Studies Examine ‘Stubbornly High’ Birth Rate Among California Latina Teenagers
Several state organizations and schools have conducted studies to determine the reasons behind the "stubbornly high" teenage birth rate among Latinas, the Los Angeles Times reports. The state reported a birth rate of 90.5 births per 1,000 among Latinas ages 15 to 19, compared with 20.7 births per 1,000 among white teens in the same age group. A California Wellness Foundation study set for release this month found that Latinos and Latinas have difficulty accessing contraceptives as a result of language barriers, parents' "reluctance" to discuss sexual issues and undocumented immigrants' fear of using public services. The study also found that foreign-born Latino youths who assimilate quickly after moving to the United States are less likely to become pregnant.
The University of California-Los Angeles has launched a separate study to find the reason for "wide variations" in birth rates, education levels and marital status among U.S.-born Latinas, recent immigrants and white teens in Los Angeles. The Times reports that preliminary data has found recently arrived, low-income immigrants are more likely to become pregnant and give birth. The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, which commissioned the UCLA study, hopes to use the results of the study to develop education programs that target specific Latino populations. Additional campaigns will use Latino radio programs and other Latino-oriented media to promote teen pregnancy prevention (Rivera, Los Angeles Times, 5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.