From the Charleston Gazette,
“Smoking, drug addiction and alcohol abuse, three of West Virginia’s biggest health problems, are the biggest contributor to a fourth problem — the state’s troubling rate of premature births.
This year’s March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card gives West Virginia a “D” for its premature birthrate, noting that 10.8 percent of infants born in the state arrived prior to 37 weeks gestation. The U.S. received a “C” for its preterm birthrate overall, and ranks among the worst when compared to other high-resource countries.
…For 2013, West Virginia’s preterm birthrate was 12.5 percent, down from 14 percent in 2006, the year the national rate for premature births peaked, according to the March of Dimes. Last year’s rate of 10.8 percent represents an improvement, but the state is still lagging behind the nation in improvement — the U.S. premature birthrate has dropped from 11.4 percent in 2013 to 9.6 percent in 2014, forcing the March of Dimes to set a new, lower national preterm birthrate goal of 8.1 percent for 2020.”