April 2009 MedBytes: Adolescent Reproductive Health

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Tex Med . 2009;105(4):56.  

In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released final teen birth rate data, which show an increase in the Texas rate, from 61.6 per 1,000 in 2005 to 63.1 per 1,000 in 2006. The teen birth rate had been declining since 1991, and the rise in 2006 concerns physicians and public health officials. The Web sites here will help health care professionals address the issue of sexual health with their adolescent patients.

American Medical Association
For guidance on improving health outcomes in adolescents, the American Medical Association offers Healthy Youth 2010: Supporting the 21 Critical Adolescent Objectives  [ PDF ]. The publication promotes physician involvement in preventive health services for adolescents through clinical practice and community activities. The resource is available on the  AMA Web site  and includes among the 2010 objectives, goals to reduce pregnancies among adolescent females and to increase the proportion of adolescents who abstain from sexual intercourse or use condoms if sexually active. From the home page, select Physician Resources, and click on Public Health from the menu. From there, select Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and then Adolescent Health. AMA encourages physicians to share the information from the publication with colleagues at medical meetings and to work with state medical societies in achieving some or all of the 21 objectives.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a comprehensive look at the national teen birth rate. Click here to access information regarding major disparities in pregnancy, birth, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV rates among teens. The site also promotes programs that have been effective in improving teen pregnancy and birth rates. CDC monitors health-risk behaviors among adolescents and publishes data pertaining to sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and STDs. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System is available online. There you can access health and behavior statistics and details on school health policies and programs, as well as state-by-state data.

Compiling information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies and health-related organizations, MedlinePlus offers health care professionals an in-depth look at various medical topics. The Teenage Pregnancy section outlines teenage mothers' health risks and features tips parents can use to help their teenagers avoid unplanned pregnancy. The Teenage Pregnancy page also connects visitors to teen birth statistics, relevant research, information on clinical trials, health check tools, and prevention and screening guidelines.

National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
Advocating responsible adolescent behavior and effective policies, the Web site of the  National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy an online resource warehouse. On the site, you'll find national pregnancy, birth, and sexual activity data; charts and research on unplanned pregnancy; polling data; and a breakdown of the costs of teen childbearing. The same information is available for each state, in addition to state comparisons by demographics, teen pregnancy, teen birth, teen sexual activity, teen contraceptive use, unplanned pregnancy, and adult contraceptive use. The  Resources  link features publications covering evaluated programs that help prevent teen pregnancy, the National Center for Health Statistics report on teen birth rates, and other useful fact sheets, reports, and PowerPoint presentations.

The Society for Adolescent Medicine
The  Society for Adolescent Medicine  focuses on learning more about adolescent health and improving the delivery of health care for adolescents. The  Web site  features tips for protecting youth confidentiality and for billing and coding for confidential and nonconfidential adolescent youth services, health surveys and screening questionnaires, a recommended immunization schedule for patients aged 10 to 25 years, and information about a national youth outreach program to prevent meningitis through vaccination.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email  Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  



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