“Our new preterm birth goal of 9.6 percent reflects the reality that preterm birth is a very complex problem, with many contributing causes. This goal is ambitious yet achievable,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “When we succeed – and I know we will – it will mean that in the United States alone 115,000 fewer babies each year would face the serious health risks of an early birth.”
More than half a million babies – some 12.2 percent of infants – are born too soon each year and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and others.
Prior to setting its own goal, the March of Dimes was aligned with the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing premature birth to 7.6 percent of all births. The new Healthy People 2020 objective is 11.4 percent. The March of Dimes annual Premature Birth Report Card, which will be issued in November, will use the 9.6 percent goal as its baseline for determining grades.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Elizabeth Lynch, (914) 997-4286, firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Dezen, (914) 997-4608, email@example.com