(HealthDay News) — Despite a drop in teen birth rates in recent years, too many girls under 18 are still getting pregnant, US health officials said Tuesday.

Even though births to teens aged 15–17 have declined, a quarter of teen births occur in this age group – nearly 1,700 a week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Speaking at the news conference, Lee Warner, the CDC’s associate director for science in the division of reproductive health, said that in 2012 there were 86,423 births to teens aged 15–17. Warner said more sex education is needed for both girls and boys, and that health professionals can provide information about the best methods of contraception.

“There have been noted declines in births to teens, and that’s good news,” Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the CDC, said during the noon news conference. “However, we can’t be complacent when we hear about these declines. We still need to make more progress in reducing health disparities and the public health burden related to teen pregnancies and births. Younger teens still account for one in four teen births,” she said.

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