Government Report: Birthrate Among Teens Drops To Lowest in 70 Years
Birthrates among U.S. teens and women in their 20s and 30s fell in 2009, hitting record lows in some age groups. The birthrate for girls ages 15 to 19 declined to 39.1 per 1,000 last year—a 6 percent drop since 2008, according to a report published Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the lowest rate in the near-70 years the federal government has tracked such data. The reason is unclear, but the economy could be a factor. "When money is very tight, all of us think harder about taking risks, expanding our families, taking on new responsibilities," Sarah Brown, chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told The Washington Post. "Many teens live with financially stressed adults, and they see neighbors and older friends losing jobs and even losing houses. So they, too, feel the squeeze and may be reacting to it by being more prudent. Maybe part of tightening our belts includes keeping our zippers closed, too." For women ages 20 to 24, meanwhile, the rate of 96.3 births per 1,000 represented a 7 percent decline, the largest drop since 1973. In fact, women ages 40 to 44 accounted for the only increase in birthrate. Experts speculate that besides the economic climate, the overall drop could be explained by a heightened focus on encouraging abstinence and using birth control.
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For Addiction Help, Hire a 'Sober Coach'
The call of drugs and alcohol to substance abusers trying to kick their habit never goes silent. For someone who has relapsed repeatedly, a new specialist—the "sober coach"—has emerged, U.S. News reports. They are paid at least $200 an hour to work one-on-one with recovering addicts, sometimes moving into their homes at more than $1,000 a day to fulfill a 24-7 role. They are motivators and cheerleaders, role models and mentors. They don't sugarcoat their words. And they resort to the unconventional to break a client's addiction cycle.
A coach might go grocery shopping with his client until that person learns not to stop in the wine aisle. He'll police an alcoholic's morning coffee routine to ensure no rum or brandy is added. And if there's a slipup? "I've used everything from 'Shut up!' to 'Do you want to become a person or remain a dope fiend?' " says Doug Caine, founder and president of Sober Champion, a sober coaching company that has offices in Los Angeles, New York, and London. "I've asked, 'Is smoking crack the best way you can serve your children?' Every client requires a different motivating tool at a different time."
Tough love is central to sober coaching. "We don't do hand-holding or babysitting jobs," Caine says. "Coaches and clients develop an intense, bonded relationship. If you're not willing to do some work, if you won't go to any lengths to stay clean, you're going to have a tough time benefitting." [Read more: For Addiction Help, Hire a 'Sober Coach'.]
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Kids Visiting? How to Quickly Childproof Your Home
If family or friends with young children will be visiting this holiday season, carve out time beforehand to go through this quick list of kid-friendly cautions and precautions. Peace of mind will lower everyone's stress level and make for a merrier time, writes U.S. News contributor Kathy Peel.
Put yourself in a child's shoes. At the restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday's, managers are required to sit in every seat and survey the room once a week to get the customer's point of view. Make it your policy to get down on all fours and evaluate your home from a young guest's perspective. While you're down there, note and relocate all cleaning products, vitamins, medicines, matches, lighters, and other potentially harmful items; scan for perfume, hair products, shoe polish, nail polish, and polish remover. Discard toxic houseplants like rhododendron, English ivy, lily of the valley, holly, and mistletoe. [Read more: Kids Visiting? How to Quickly Childproof Your Home.]
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