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CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming's teen birth rate fell in 2008 and 2009, reversing an upward trend that occurred over much of the decade, state health statistics show.

The rate of teenagers giving birth peaked in 2007 at 50.6 for every 1,000 births, according to figures provided by the Wyoming Department of Health. Over the next two years, it declined to 44.8.

Even with the decrease, Wyoming's teen birth rate remains higher than the United States average of 39.1 for every 1,000 births. The national teen birth rate has also been on the decline since 2007, according to a report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Debra Hamilton, a women and infant health coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Health, was heartened by the downward trend. Health officials have made reducing teen pregnancies a priority, she said.

Wyoming offers several programs that aim to reduce teen pregnancies. The programs provide information on birth control, but also encourage young women to plan for their futures.

The biggest drop in Wyoming's teen birth rate occurred among 18- and 19-year-olds, federal figures show. The birth rate among older teens fell 17.5 percent between 2007 and 2009 — the ninth-largest decline in the nation.

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