Friday, December 24, 2010

U.S. Teen Birth Rate Hits Record Low in 2009, CDC Report Finds

/PRNewswire/ -- The birth rate for U.S. teens aged 15-19 years fell to a record low, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2009 birth rate of 39.1 births per 1,000 teens is down 6 percent from the 2008 rate of 42.5 births per 1,000. This is the lowest ever recorded in seven decades of tracking teenage childbearing. Birth rates for younger and older teens and for all race/ethnic groups reached historic lows in 2009.

The data are based on nearly 100 percent of birth records collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics also notes declines in the overall fertility rate – the average number of births that a group of women would have over their lifetimes – and the total number of U.S. births.

The general fertility rate fell from 68.6 births per 1,000 females aged 15-44 per year in 2008 to 66.7 in 2009. The total number of births declined from 4,247,694 in 2008 to 4,131,019 in 2009. This decline appears to be continuing into 2010, based on early birth counts from January-June of this year.

Other findings:

* The total number of births to unmarried mothers declined in 2009, the first decline since 1997. The rate of births per 1,000 unmarried mothers also declined for the first time since 2002. However, because total births declined more than unmarried births, the percentage of births to unmarried mothers rose slightly in 2009, to 41 percent of all U.S. births compared to 40.6 in 2008.
* The birth rate for women in their early twenties fell 7 percent in 2009, the largest decline for this age group since 1973. The rates also fell for women in their late twenties and thirties. The birth rate for women in their early forties increased in 2009.
* The preterm birth rate declined for the third straight year in 2009, to about 12.2 percent of all births.
* The cesarean delivery rate rose to a record high of 32.9 percent in 2009, up from 32.3 in 2008. The cesarean rate has increased every year since 1996, when the rate was 20.7.
* The low birthweight rate was essentially unchanged between 2008 and 2009 at less than 8.2 percent in 2009, but down slightly from the record high of 8.3 in 2006.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nine flying reindeer cleared to land in Georgia on Christmas Eve

Department of Agriculture waives veterinary requirements

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin has granted a special 24-hour permit for nine flying reindeer to land in Georgia on the evening of Friday, Dec. 24, into the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 25.

The special permit waives routine veterinary requirements and inspections which protect the health of animals in the state and help prevent the introduction of exotic diseases. The reindeer named on the permit are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. The permit application was filed this week by a North Pole toymaker named Santa Claus.

“After consulting with our state veterinarians, I concluded these reindeer did not pose any threat to agriculture or violate any of our biosecurity measures,” said Commissioner Irvin. “As it was explained to me, these reindeer will be moving very quickly and will not intermingle with any livestock in our state. In fact, they will not even touch the ground, but will only prance and paw on rooftops.”

Commissioner Irvin said he is extremely pleased to grant this waiver, his last, to Mr. Claus. While Santa has indicated no plans to retire, Commissioner Irvin is giving up the reins at the Georgia Department of Agriculture and will be retiring to his Habersham County farm in January.

“I, and the employees of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, wish Santa safe travels this year and the years to come as he and his team of reindeer make deliveries to all the good children of Georgia.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Students: Enter Our Chimp Drawing Contest

On your mark, get set, start drawing—chimps, that is!

Time is running out for students in grades K-12 to enter The Humane Society of the United States' 2010 Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest.

The contest ends on December 17th.

Drawings should reflect the theme of this year's contest: A Tribute to Chimpanzee Sanctuaries.

A panel of judges that includes cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip "MUTTS," will select two Grand Prize winners and six runners-up. Winners will be notified by January 31, 2011.

The Grand Prize winners will each receive an iPod Touch. Runners-up will each receive $25. All eight winning drawings will also be featured on If either of the Grand Prize winning entries were coordinated by a teacher, the teacher will receive a $500 gift certificate for school supplies.

For more information about the contest, please check the contest rules [PDF].

The drawing contest was expanded this year to include students in grades 7-12. View the winning entries from the 2009 Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest.

How To Enter

1. Create an 11" x 17" drawing that shows appreciation for the incredible work that chimpanzee sanctuaries do by caring for chimps who were previously used in research laboratories, kept as pets, or used in circuses or other forms of entertainment.

2. Download [PDF], print and fill out the contest application. 

3. Mail the application and your drawing—post marked no later than December 17, 2010—to:

Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest
c/o Jennifer Ball
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

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