Call for Action on Premature Births
Reported November 14, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — In an evaluation of premature births in each state, the March of Dimes gave the nation a D on their first annual Premature Birth Report Card. Not a single state earned an A.
Every year more than half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States, or before 37 weeks gestation. The condition is the leading cause of newborn death and lifelong disability. According to the Institute of Medicine, preterm birth rate has jumped by 20 percent since 1990 and costs the nation more than $26 billion every year.
In the March of Dimess effort to raise awareness of the growing problem, the organization compared actual preterm birth rates to the national Healthy People 2010 objective, set by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, whose goal is to reduce the premature birth rate to 7.6 percent of all live births. The most recent data, from 2005, puts the national rate at 12.7 percent.
Vermont was the only state to earn a B. Eight states earned a C, 23 were given a D and 18 states and Puerto Rico failed. The March of Dimes also analyzed several contributing and preventive factors of premature births, including the rates of late preterm birth, smoking and uninsured women of childbearing age.
It is unacceptable that our nation is failing so many preterm babies, Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, Ph.D., president of the March of Dimes, was quoted as saying. We are determined to find and implement solutions to prevent preterm birth, based on research, best clinical practices and improved education for moms.
SOURCE: March of Dimes, published online November 12, 2008