Expert: Rio Grande Valley a 'hot spot' for teenage pregnancy
While birth rates among teenagers remain at historic lows, Hispanic teenagers still have the highest rate among all groups tracked by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An experts told CBS 4 News the best way to prevent teenagers from becoming pregnant is simple: Talk with them about sex.
"Every parent, I think, is scared to bring up that topic," said Melanie Pizano of Harlingen.
New York University Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, who founded the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, said teenage pregnancy rates vary by race and geography.
In 1991, Hispanic teenagers had a pregnancy rate of 104.6 births per 1,000 women, according to CDC data. By 2015, the rate dropped to just 34.9 per 1,000 women.
Hispanic teenagers, though, still have the highest birth rate among groups tracked by the CDC.
Non-Hispanic white teenagers had a pregnancy rate of 16 per 1,000 women in 2015, according to the CDC. Non-Hispanic black teenagers had a pregnancy rate of 31.8 per 1,000 women.
"There are places in the United States, including Texas, where there are what we call 'hot spots' — places where there's still a really elevated rate of teen pregnancy," Guilamo-Ramos said.
The Rio Grande Valley is considered a "hot spot" for teenage pregnancy, Guilamo-Ramos said. A lack of sex education and health resources contributes to the problem.
Parents should speak frankly with their children about sex, Guilamo-Ramos said, adding that one conversation isn't enough. If parents want their children to abstain from sex or use contraceptives, they should make that clear.
"So it makes it even more important that families be aware," Guilamo-Ramos said. "And that parents actually be active and engaged."