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November 16, 2011

For More Information Contact

  • Michelle Stoll, Public Information Officer (804) 864-7963

November 17th is World Prematurity Awareness Day

(Richmond, Va.) Virginia has much to celebrate on World Prematurity Awareness Day. The number of late preterm births has decreased; teen pregnancy rates have dropped; more women in Virginia are insured and the smoking rate among women has declined. Additionally, WIC enrollment and breastfeeding rates have gone up.

“This is good news for babies and families in Virginia,” said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP. “All of these factors support child health as well as healthier families overall.”

These successes reflect the efforts of women and families in partnership with health care providers, local health departments, community-based organizations, as well as family planning programs, WIC, and breastfeeding education and support programs offered throughout the state.

While Virginia has made noteworthy progress in the areas above, there remains a disparity in infant mortality rates among African Americans. In 2010, 14.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births occurred in African American infants compared to 6.8 statewide and 4.9 of white infants.

“It is essential that we continue to address the root causes of disparity through partnerships with the health care community, local governments and community support organizations,” said Remley. “Supporting programs that empower families to make choices to improve their health and the health of their babies, such as community WIC programs and initiatives that encourage and support breastfeeding, are actions that benefit the health of all babies and mothers.”

For more information about healthy babies and healthy families, visit

Last Updated: 11-16-2011

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