Posts Tagged ‘march of dimes’

Premature birth rate in U.S. increases for second year

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

For the second year in a row, the rate of preterm birth in the United States has increased. The premature birth rate went up from 9.6 percent of births in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016, giving the U.S. a “C” on the March of Dimes 2017 Premature Birth Report Card. The report card also shows that across the U.S., black women are 49 percent more likely to deliver preterm compared to white women. American Indian/Alaska Native women are 18 percent more likely to deliver preterm compared to white women.

More than 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year. An additional 8,000 babies were born prematurely in 2016 due to the increase in the preterm birth rate. Premature babies may have more health problems or need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born on time. Some of these babies also face long-term health effects, like problems that affect the brain, lungs, hearing or vision.

The Premature Birth Report Card provides rates and grades for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Preterm birth rates worsened in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The rates stayed the same in three states (AL, AZ, WA), and improved in only four states (NE, NH, PA, WY).

  • Four states earned an “A” on the 2017 Premature Birth Report Card;
  • 13 states received a “B”;
  • 18 states got a “C”;
  • 11 states and the District of Columbia got a “D”;
  • 4 states and Puerto Rico received an “F.”

Among the 100 cities in the U.S. with the greatest number of births (latest data is for 2015), Irvine, California had the lowest rate of preterm birth (5.8 percent), and Cleveland, Ohio had the highest preterm birth rate (14.9 percent).

This year’s Report Card also includes a preterm birth disparity ratio. This measures the disparities in preterm birth rates across racial/ethnic groups in a geographic area. The disparity ratio shows that the differences in preterm birth rates among racial/ethnic groups are getting worse nationally and no state has shown improvement since the measurements started being recorded in 2010-2012.

There is no single cause of premature birth and therefore there is no simple solution. However, things like expanding research, increasing education, strengthening advocacy, and improving clinical care and community programs can all help. The March of Dimes continues to work towards giving every mom the opportunity to have a healthy pregnancy and every baby the chance to survive and thrive.

If you want to learn how you can help increase awareness of the serious problem of premature birth throughout November, check out our blog post.

FDA approves folic acid fortification of corn masa — a great day for babies!

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Hispanic mom and babyToday the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will allow corn masa flour to be fortified with folic acid. This announcement is a victory for America’s mothers and babies, and caps more than 20 years of work by the March of Dimes to prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs).

Scientists have long recognized that folic acid can prevent NTDs.  After wheat flour and related products were required to be fortified with folic acid in 1996, the incidence of neural tube defects dropped by about one-third.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates folic acid fortification in the U.S. has saved about 1,300 babies each year from these fatal or devastating birth defects – a total of 26,000 babies born healthy since folic acid fortification began in 1998.

But corn masa flour wasn’t part of that rule, and that may be part of the reason that neural tube defect rates have remained higher among Hispanic babies. Foods like tortillas, tamales, pupusas, chips and taco shells can now be fortified. Adding folic acid to corn masa will help to prevent neural tube defects.

The March of Dimes looks forward to the prevention of even more NTDs in the U.S. — giving more babies a chance for a full, happy life, and giving their families the joy of a healthy child.

Please join us in thanking the FDA by tweeting to @US_FDA or posting on their Facebook wall with messages like these:

Join our Advocacy Action Center for updates about how you can make a difference for healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

380,000 babies born too soon in the U.S.

Friday, November 6th, 2015

WPD-2015-Report-Card-MapThis year, the United States received a “C” on the March of Dimes 2015 Premature Birth Report Card. Although the overall rate of preterm birth dropped to 9.6% in 2014, 1 in 10 babies in the U.S. is born too soon. And despite the decline, the U.S. preterm birth rate continues to rank among the worst of high-income countries.

Four states received an “A” on the report card—Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Vermont. All of these states had a preterm birth rate of 8.1% or less. Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico all received an “F.” Their preterm birth rates were 11.5% or greater.

For the first time this year, in addition to grading states, the report card graded cities and counties around the nation. This additional analysis showed persistent racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities. According to the report card, Portland, Oregon has the best preterm birth rate at 7.2%, earning that city an “A” on the report card. However, Shreveport, Louisiana has the worst preterm birth rate and received an “F” for its 18.8% rate.

Check out the grade for your state and the top 100 cities with the most births nationwide.

The March of Dimes has set a new goal to lower the national preterm birth rate to 8.1% by 2020 and to 5.5% by 2030. Reaching the 2020 goal of 8.1% will mean that 210,000 fewer babies will be born preterm and achieving the 2030 goal will mean 1.3 million fewer babies will be born preterm saving about $70 billion.

“This aggressive goal can be achieved by increasing best practices in preconception and pregnancy care, wider use of proven interventions such as progesterone and birth spacing, and funding discovery research through our research centers,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes.

Continued research to identify new medical advances to prevent preterm birth is necessary in order to reach the new goal. The March of Dimes supports a nationwide network of five cutting-edge, team-based research centers seeking to find the unknown causes of preterm birth and ways to prevent it.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day (WPD) will be observed on November 17 by the March of Dimes and partner organizations worldwide. Activities in honor of WPD are expected in about 100 countries. Join us for Twitter chats throughout the month and the 24-hour #worldprematurityday Buzzday on November 17th.

Celebration of Babies

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Today is the star-studded March of Dimes Celebration of Babies, a Hollywood luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The Celebration of Babies brings together and recognizes celebrities and prominent individuals in the entertainment community who are pregnant or celebrating the recent birth of a child, and who are role models for the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies by helping moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies.

Actor and producer Reese Witherspoon will receive the 2012 March of Dimes Grace Kelly Award, which recognizes role-model celebrity parents who share the March of Dimes commitment to healthy pregnancies and families. Cyma Zarghami, President of Nickelodeon Group, will be honored as the Inspiring Woman of the Year for her accomplishments as a leader in the entertainment industry and as a dedicated mother to her three sons, Liam, Wyatt and Ethan. Medical doctor Bryan Oshiro will receive the 2012 Elaine Whitelaw Volunteer Service Award. Oshiro is Vice-Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Director of the Perinatal Institute at the Loma Linda University Medical Center. Oshiro’s work with March of Dimes has resulted in groundbreaking health guidelines for hospitals and obstetricians.

March of Dimes continues our recognition of expecting and new parents by honoring the 2012 Celebration of Babies Stork Club. Stork Club members are entertainment industry leaders who are expecting a baby, or have had baby this past year. Members include Amanda Anka and Jason Bateman, Drew Barrymore and Will Koppelman, Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green and others.

March of Dimes has long-standing ties to the Hollywood community. Since its founding in 1938, supporters over the years have included Eddie Cantor, Grace Kelly, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bill Cosby, to name a few.

Lucy and Desi for the March of Dimes

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

In honor of the March of Dimes Youtube account passing 6 million video views this week, here’s a look back at one of the first videos we ever posted.

Support MOD while you shop

Friday, August 17th, 2012

macys-shop-for-a-cause1This is a great deal for all back to school shoppers, or for just those of us who are looking to buy something fun and new. Seriously, it’s a 25% savings to you and it helps the March of Dimes, too.

Join the March of Dimes and Macy’s as we Shop For A Cause on August 25th. As the exclusive in-store beneficiary of this annual Macy’s event, March of Dimes will receive 100% of your donation when you purchase a savings pass in-store for $5. Not only will you be getting some of the best savings of the year, but you’ll be supporting moms and babies right in your own community.

The best part? Spread the love by sharing the news with your friends and family so they can join in on the savings, too! They can join our event or visit and we’ll send an email reminder so they don’t forget to Shop For A Cause on August 25th.

Check it out!

Exercise During Pregnancy

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Dr. Siobhan Dolan talks about how exercise can help women have a healthy pregnancy and which exercises are safe during pregnancy.

March for Babies

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

We all have stories about why we walk. What is yours?

The hidden origins of March for Babies

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

tap-from-1960sMarch for Babies is always an exciting event, and its origins are hidden in plain sight. March for Babies thrives thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of individuals, families, and organizations committed to our cause of saving babies. Yet the format of the event – people assembling in public to walk a prescribed route and raise money – remains the same year after year. Why is it a successful event? What makes it so popular? Where did it come from? 

Until 2008, March for Babies had been known as WalkAmerica, but long before that it flourished in March of Dimes chapter events called “walk-a-thons.” The idea first caught fire in San Antonio, Texas and Columbus, Ohio in late 1970, and chapters across the country duplicated the event with stunning success.  Though we date March for Babies from 1970, there were actually earlier walks organized by teens in Alabama and Georgia in 1966, and a 100-mile trek by young walkers in Tennessee in 1965. These precursors had one constant – they were organized by youth, members of the March of Dimes Teen-Age Program (TAP) that blossomed in the Sixties.

The social turmoil that characterized the 1960s brought countless people into the streets to voice their protest or to support a cause. The waves of social activism of the Sixties youth movement spilled over into positive areas of commitment, and the March of Dimes capitalized on this to capture youthful energy to “protest” against birth defects. The motto of TAP was “Go MOD,” and March of Dimes teens percolated with fresh ideas to raise money. By the early Seventies, walk-a-thons of 25 or 26 miles were customary, and completing the full marathon course earned any walker entry into the “Order of the Battered Boot.”

Another impetus for the walks was fitness and health, specifically aerobic exercise. In 1968, Kenneth Cooper, MD authored a popular book titled Aerobics. “Aerobics” was then a new word that described a concept of cardio-vascular health, and Dr. Cooper engaged the March of Dimes and other health agencies in San Antonio in 1969 to put this concept into action by holding a public walking event. One year later, the San Antonio chapter held an independent walk-a-thon, and astronaut John Glenn participated a few weeks later in the Columbus walk. The phenomenal success of these initial efforts culminated in the nationally organized event the March of Dimes began to call WalkAmerica a decade later.

Why do we walk in March for Babies? That’s an easier question to answer. Most people do so because they believe in and/or are connected to our mission of saving babies and preventing prematurity. But the historical background of walking to publicize a life-affirming cause, and thereby staying fit through aerobic exercise, are behind our many individual reasons. March for Babies remains an energetic and enlivening way to say how much we care about babies – it’s fun, it promotes health, and it makes a difference!

I hope to see you out walking with us this weekend!

Little feet, big steps!

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012