The health of babies in the United States has taken a step backward as the nation’s preterm birth rate worsened for the first time in eight years, the March of Dimes said today. The U.S. earned a “C” grade on the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card amidst widening differences in prematurity rates across different races and ethnicities.
“The 2016 March of Dimes Report Card demonstrates that there is an unfair burden of premature birth among specific racial and ethnic groups as well as geographic areas,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “The March of Dimes strives for a world where every baby has a fair chance, yet we see this is not the reality for many mothers and babies. Babies in this country have different chances of surviving and thriving simply based on the circumstances of their birth.”
The U.S. preterm birth rate went up from 9.57 to 9.63 in 2015, according to final data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Across the country, preterm birth rates were nearly 48 percent higher among black women and more than 15 percent higher among American Indian/Alaska Native women compared to white women.
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