RICHMOND (WRIC)—For the second time, the hit reality show "16 and Pregnant" will feature a girl from Central Virginia, and that may not be such a bad thing for the area.
Teen pregnancy has been a concern across the country for years, but it's never quite been portrayed in the way of MTV's "16 and Pregnant."
"It's scary, but at the same time scary in terms of some of the things they show are real life," said Dr. Courtney Legum-Wenk, a gynecologist. "That's what teenagers need to realize; it's not just a reality television show making things up."
Some experts say the show's dose of reality has helped lower the number of teen pregnancies, even here in Central Virginia.
Last year, the show featured a girl named Devon Broyles, a former student at Varina High School in Henrico County. Another local teen will be featured on the show's upcoming season.
Gale Grant of the Richmond Health District says the exposure is actually good for the region.
"That may help us," Grant said. "It may help us in the sense that kids say, ‘Oh, they came to Richmond,' so that even makes them more interested and plug in for … maybe a few seconds longer."
In fact, the district has used clips of the show in its health classes.
"I think it's great to use any piece of media to engage the students in learning," said Tashana Jaudon, a health education specialist.
New numbers show that in 2003, there were more than 1,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 who were pregnant in Richmond. In 2012, that number dropped to below 500.
But it's not just "16 and Pregnant" that has helped chop this number in half, so has improved health education.
"Teaching young people those effective strategies [and] topics that help to reduce teen pregnancy," Grant said.
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