01/15/06 — Local officials hope online quiz helpful in pregnancy campaign

View Archive

Local officials hope online quiz helpful in pregnancy campaign

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 15, 2006 2:01 AM

The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy will be May 3, and a local task force hopes an online quiz will be helpful in raising awareness and education efforts.

Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, or WATCH's Teen Pregnancy Task Force met recently to discuss ways to encourage participation in the national campaign. The goal for the campaign, which began four years ago, is to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy by a third.

According to the Web site teenpregnancy.org, which contains a link to the quiz, about 34 percent of girls in the United States get pregnant at least once by age 20. While the numbers have shown a decline in recent years, efforts are still needed, the site reported.

Pregnancy rates in Wayne County decreased in 2003-04, said Sudie Davis, chairman of the local Teen Pregnancy Task Force. The rate went from 77.1 per 1,000 to 79.1 per 1,000 or 2 percent, which is .4 percent below the state average of 2.4 percent.

In neighboring Lenoir County, the average was more than 6 percent, which she called "frightening."

"I don't think we should be discouraged knowing what's happening in other counties," she said. "I don't think we can let up our guard. We have to continue to work on this issue."

In addition to the task force, a number of local agencies as well as the school-based health centers in the public schools have contributed to successfully helping abate the number of teen pregnancies.

"What would it be if we didn't have this many people working on this issue?" Mrs. Davis said.

Mrs. Davis said she learned about the national campaign a few months ago and liked the concept of the anonymous online quiz as a way to get youths thinking about the consequences of having sex as a teen.

This will be the first year the quiz is being promoted in Wayne County, but the fourth year for the national campaign, she said.

The quiz features seven different scenarios, situations in which a youth might find him or herself, with multiple choice answers to select. The exam probably takes no more than 20 minutes to complete, Mrs. Davis said.

Upon completing the questions, there is a way to score the answers and assess how informed the youth really is.

"It's definitely done with an educational vein to it," she said.

When the quiz was introduced, she said it drew a response from 75,000 teens across the country. Last year, 630,000 participated. Based on comments posted on the Web site, Mrs. Davis said it seemed to have really affected teens' thinking and decision-making processes.

"We'd love to find a way, create a way, for them to give us feedback," she said.

The task force discussed several ways to promote the May 3 event, including posters and fliers, announcing it through the schools and WISH school-based health centers, as well as other agencies in the community. Incentives and prizes were also mentioned as ways to reward those who take part in the survey.