FIFE has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Scotland, according to new official figures.
Statistics released by NHS Scotland’s Information Services Division (ISD), show that one in every 100 girls aged between 13 and 15 in the region falls pregnant.
Scotland as a whole has a rate of 7.1 per 1000 girls under 16.
The Levenmouth area of Fife was singled out in the study for its shocking statistics, with a rate of 12.3 under 16’s per 1000 falling pregnant – nearly double the national average.
NHS Borders has the lowest rate of underage pregnancy at five per 1000 underage girls.
The study was carried out on pregnant teens from December 31 2010.
Numbers only show the amount of pregnancies at the time of the study and does not distinguish between those that have gone on to births, miscarriages or abortions.
The ISD also claim there is a clear link between teen pregnancies and deprivation.
The report said “a teenage female living in a deprived area is four times more likely to experience a pregnancy than someone living in one of the least deprived areas”.
In more deprived areas the rate of abortion in those aged 15 to 19 is almost double that of more affluent areas at 25.8 per 1000.
In the under 18 and under 20 age groups, the highest rates were seen in NHS Tayside with rates of 46.6 per 1000 and 62.3 per 1000 recorded respectively.
Dr Lorna Watson, chair of the Fife Sexual Health Strategy Group, said that “alcohol and self-esteem” issues could be a factor in the increase in underage pregnancies.
She said: “It is important that appropriate and high-quality relationships and sexual health education is delivered and that relevant advice and support is available for young people, linking to related topics such as alcohol and self-esteem.”
Fife Council and NHS Fife are now trying to involve parents in teaching their children about sexual health and relationships.
Dr Watson added: “Parents and carers have a key role in guiding young people in this area. Further work is planned to help support parents and carers.”
Carrie Lindsay, Fife Council education officer, said a recent research project had provided good work on how to involve parents more in teaching children about relationships and sexual health.