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Nation gets a 'D' as March of Dimes releases premature birth report card
Date:11/11/2008

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., NOV. 12, 2008 The United States is failing hundreds of thousands of its youngest citizens on the day they are born, according to the March of Dimes.

In the first of what will be an annual Premature Birth Report Card, the nation received a "D" and not a single state earned an "A," when the March of Dimes compared actual preterm birth rates to the national Healthy People 2010 objective.

The only state to earn a "B" was Vermont. Eight others earned a "C," 23 states earned a "D," and 18 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia got failing grades of "F."

"It is unacceptable that our nation is failing so many preterm babies," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "We are determined to find and implement solutions to prevent preterm birth, based on research, best clinical practices and improved education for moms."

November 12 marks the nation's 6th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day, a time when the March of Dimes mobilizes volunteers and parents to draw attention to premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation), which affects more than 530,000 babies each year in the United States. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause of lifelong disability.

In this election year, the March of Dimes invites all Americans to help send a message to President-elect Barack Obama, and to federal and state lawmakers by signing the 2008 Petition for Preemies at marchofdimes.com/petition.

In addition to providing state rankings, the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card analyzes several contributing factors and prevention opportunities, including rates of late preterm birth, smoking, and uninsured women of childbearing age. The purpose is to raise public awareness of the growing crisis of preterm birth so elected and appointed officials will commit more resources to address this problem and policymakers will support development of st
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Contact: Elizabeth Lynch
elynch@marchofdimes.com
914-997-4286
March of Dimes Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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