American Teens Are Living A Very Sedentary Life

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Huber declined to be interviewed. But in August, she told a radio audience in Columbus, Ohio: “We’re hopeful Congress will eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. If they choose not to, we have every intention to improve this program so more young people are helped as a result. The program as designed and promoted simply isn’t working.”

As evidence, she pointed to evaluations that found 12 programs in the initial 2010-15 grant period reduced risky sexual behavior among teens, 16 did not and 13 were inconclusive.

However, social scientists with the Brookings Institution say those results show that the programs were making progress and that axing them is a “grievous and ill-considered decision.” Overall, major studies show that programs such as these contribute to drops in teen pregnancy when they incorporate contraceptive information; ones that rely entirely on persuading teens to abstain from sex are ineffective, waste money and are dangerous to their health.

Meyer, of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, called the loss of the grant funds “a double hit to the community. Not only are students going to be denied these programs, there also will be less evidence to help districts identify the best ones for their students.”

Reaching out in coal country

Deep in rural Appalachia, adolescent birth rates soar — they’re nearly four times the national average in some places.

Mission West Virginia, a nonprofit that serves youth and families, was using the federal funds to eventually reach 55,000 teenagers in sixth through 10th grades in 100 schools, group homes and juvenile centers with its THINK program, or Teaching Health Instead of Nagging Kids. The goal was to help every teen in counties where poverty and social problemsfuel high teen birth rates, particularly in rural areas that were once the center of mining.

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