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Oklahoma's adolescent birth rate exceeds national rate

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The state Department of Health says Oklahoma's adolescent birth rate is higher than the national rate, with about 7,068 births to mothers aged 15 to 19 each year.

Statistics indicate that Oklahoma's adolescent birth rate was 56 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in 2003. That's 33.3 percent higher than the national rate of 42 births per 1,000 females in the same age group.

The state's health care system spends about $24.4-million on adolescent births and could potentially save about $3,300 for every adolescent pregnancy that's prevented.

State health officials urged parents to address the problem by becoming the primary sexuality educators for their children.
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