Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Commissioner's Statement regarding March of Dimes 2018 Premature Birth Report Card


November 2, 2018

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm released the following statement today in response to the 2018 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. The new report shows Minnesota’s 2017 preterm birth rate was 8.9 percent, up slightly from 8.8 percent in 2016. In comparison, the 2017 national rate was 9.93 percent. The report assigns letter grades based on each state’s preterm birth rate. Minnesota was among 15 states earning a B.

This report shines light on an underappreciated but significant public health challenge. Premature birth and associated complications rank as the biggest contributor to death in the first year of life in the United States, and the leading cause of death of children under age 5 around the world. As with many health outcomes, Minnesota fares better than most other states but our relatively strong rating masks big disparities across population groups.

Preterm birth rates are not just accidents of nature. Evidence shows they are influenced by societal factors such as chronic inequities and unequal access to care. These are big challenges to address, but the good news is Minnesota already has a solid foundation on which to build. Our successes with programs such as Family Home Visiting, WIC and Minnesota’s 17P Quality Improvement Project show that we have tools to make a lasting beneficial impact on the lives of our most at-risk children and families.

Improving the health of at-risk children and families is good news all around. In addition to making a big difference for those served directly, helping our youngest Minnesotans get off to a healthy start is a proven strategy for saving communities and our health care system money by reducing the need for spending on social services down the road.

NOTE: The March of Dimes report cards have been released annually since November 2008. The project defines premature or preterm birth as a birth less than 37 weeks gestation based on the obstetric estimate of gestational age. Data used in the report card came from the National Center for Health Statistics.


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