McDowell teen birth rate soars as W.Va. rate falls

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Even as the statewide rate falls, the number of teenagers giving birth in McDowell County has soared — jumping 34 percent in five years.

The latest West Virginia KIDS COUNT report shows a rate of 96 births per 1,000 girls in 2010, the latest figures available.

That's 17 births above the next-closest county, Mingo, and more than double the statewide rate.

McDowell's rate is also seven times higher than the county with the fewest: Monongalia's teen birth rate is just 14 per 1,000 teens.

KIDS COUNT director Margie Hale calls the fact that one in seven West Virginia girls will give birth "alarming" because it puts mothers and babies at risk.

She says it's time for communities and parents to ensure the state's comprehensive sex-education curriculum is actually being taught.

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