MPB Programs

Kids Programs

A-Z Programs

Episode #02

Premature Parenthood - 2

Air date 5/15/12
Host: Dr. Rick deShazo
Guest(s): Governor Phil Bryant, State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier, Dr. David Dzielak, Carol Penick, Jamie Bardwell

Dr. Rick talks with Governor Phil Bryant and other government officials about the severity of the problem and the impact that it has on our state. 

Governor Bryant has made Mississippi’s teen pregnancy crisis one of his main focuses. Governor Bryant is concerned not only about the effect that teen pregnancy has on the mothers and their children, but also about the role of the fathers. In an interview with Dr. Rick, State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier focuses on the impact that teen pregnancy has on public health in Mississippi. Dr. David Dzielak, Executive Director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, talks with Dr. Rick about the costs of teen pregnancy to the state of Mississippi.



A number of local agencies concerned with Mississippi's teen pregnancy crisis were featured in this episode. For more information on each, please visit their websites:


Mississippi's teen pregnancy rates are historically high:

  • In 2005, the teen pregnancy rate was 85 pregnancies per 1000 15-19 year old females. At the same time, the national rate was 69.5 per 1000 15-19 year old females.
  • In 2010 Mississippi had the highest rate of births to teen mothers at 55 per 1000 15-19 year old females.

Statistics point out problems for children in Mississippi, including the teen mothers:

  • In 2009, Mississippi had the highest percentage of low-birth weight babies at 12.2% and the highest percent of very low birth weight babies at 2.15%.
  • In 2009, Mississippi ranked last regarding overall child well being.
  • In 2010, 33% of Mississippi children lived in poverty, the highest rate in the nation.
  • In 2008-2009, 62% of students in Mississippi graduated on time (in four years) – this is the lowest percentage in the nation.
  • In 2010, 23% of Mississippians aged 18 – 24 did not attend school, did not work, and had no degree beyond high school, the 2nd highest rate in the nation.

Teen pregnancy has an economic toll in Mississippi as well:

  • In 2008, teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $159 million.
  • Between 1991 -2008, there were approximately 146,379 teen births in the state, costing taxpayers $3.7 billion dollars. 
Radio Episodes Television Episodes