Alabama earns 'F' on March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card

Published: Nov. 5, 2015 at 1:09 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2015 at 3:15 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama has earned an "F" by the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. For the first time the organization looked into the states cities, revealing persistent disparities between communities and among racial and ethnic groups.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Alabama's preterm birth rate was 11.7 percent in 2014 which is higher than the March of Dimes national preterm birth rate 2020 goal of 8.1 percent. Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville rounded out at the bottom of the states cities, each with preterm birth rates that were worse than the statewide rate.

"This detailed information will show us where we have the greatest need and allow us to meet the unique needs of each community," said Kimberly Seals, State Director of Program Services, March of Dimes Alabama Chapter. "Our state is not doing as well as we should in preventing premature births and too many of our babies must fight to overcome the health challenges of an early birth. Premature birth is the number one killer of babies and many of our families still face that fear. There are large gaps in the preterm birth rate between communities in our state, and racial and ethnic disparities persist."

The National Report Card ranked the United States with a "C", Alabama being 45th on the disparity index with a score of 34 to indicate the gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate.

The 2015 Premature Birth Report Card provides rates and grades for major cities or counties in each state, and Puerto Rico. It also provides preterm birth rates by race and ethnicity for each state and applies a disparity index that ranks states.

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