Local Hispanic teen pregnancy rate doubles whites’

The demographics of the pregnant teens in Marshall County were discussed during Tuesday’s board of health meeting.

The teen birth rate from 2011 is more than double for Hispanics in the county when compared to whites.

The teen birth rate for Hispanics was 66.7 per 1,000 for 15 to 19-year-olds and for whites it was 32.7 per 1,000 of the same age range.

Jana Enfield, director of Child Abuse Prevention Services and leader of the local teen pregnancy prevention group, said they will continue to reach out to the Hispanic population and partner with the community on education.

Enfield also reported there are currently 23 pregnant or parenting teens in the county who have been identified, and 48 percent of them are Hispanic, with 43 percent Caucasian.

Enfield said cultural differences on teen pregnancies could be the reason behind the increased Hispanic numbers, though that could be moving in a different direction.

“The longer they are here, it’s going to change,” Enfield said.

They are also making an effort to reach out to the Burmese population on prevention methods. The teen pregnancy prevention group has held meetings with this population and has made strides in learning about the Burmese culture.

“They are very receptive, they want to learn,” Enfield said.

When asked by a board of health member if the Burmese culture also leads to more teen pregnancies, Enfield said their focus in their homeland is survival first.

Enfield said overall when they educate the public – no matter what ethnicity – they stress abstinence first.