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Decline In Teenage Birth Rates, Tobacco Use Offer Blacks Hope For Future

Armen Hareyan's picture

A recent decline in teenage pregnancy among blacks in the Washington,D.C., area indicates that "black America is gearing up to overcome"other racial health and economic disparities, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy writes.

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Blackteenagers nationwide also have lower rates of tobacco use than otherteenagers, and the number of black high school and college graduates"continues to rise," according to Milloy. In addition, CDCreports that blacks "are making gains against heart disease, breastcancer and infant mortality," adding, "Nothing particularlyearth-shattering. But it's progress -- a quiet, almost imperceptibletransformation that is all too easily overlooked," Milloy adds.

Thefindings do not "mean that life for black Americans is just one bigjack-o'-lantern full of Hershey's Kisses," Milloy writes, adding,"Poverty, racism, crime and disease continue to have a devastatingeffect on black Americans."

However, black teens "will surelybe rewarded" for avoiding smoking, having fewer pregnancies andcompleting school, Milloy writes. He says, "Imagine the future as theycontinue on this path: Educational achievement skyrockets. Stable blackfamilies become the norm again. Crime and poverty go down. Income andsense of well-being go up." He concludes, "What a treat that would be"(Milloy, Washington Post, 10/31).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.