HAWAII GETS A “C” ON MARCH OF DIMES PREMATURE BIRTH REPORT CARD
Racial Disparities and Gaps Among Communities Highlighted
News Release from March of Dimes
HAWAII, NOV. 5, 2015 – Hawaii earned a “C” on the 2015 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, which for the first time graded the state’s counties and revealed persistent disparities between communities and among racial and ethnic groups.
Hawaii’s preterm birth rate was 10.0 percent in 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The rate was higher than the new March of Dimes 2020 goal of 8.1 percent. But there are communities within Hawaii that are trailing behind the state’s rate. Honolulu had a preterm birth rate that was higher than the statewide rate. Maui, Hawaii and Kauai counties all did slightly better 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 Laura Bonilla, Executive Director of Pediatric Service Line at Kapi'olani Medical Center Women & Children. “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.”
Hawaii ranked 47 on the disparity index with a score of 40 to indicate the gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate.
- During the month of November, you can see IBM Building in Honolulu shining in purple light to symbolize hope for a healthy start for more babies.
The national preterm birth rate was 9.6 percent in 2014, meeting the March of Dimes 2020 goal early, the organization’s leaders announced as they set a new and higher standard for the 2015 Premature Birth Report Card.
The US earned a “C” on the 2015 Report Card. Idaho, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington earned “As,” 19 states received a “B,” 18 states and the District of Columbia got a “C,” six others a “D,” and Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico received an “F.” The U.S. preterm birth rate ranks among the worst of high-resource countries, the March of Dimes says. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and nearly one million die due to an early birth or its complications. Babies who survive an early birth face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays.
The March of Dimes says the years of improvement in the US preterm birth rate came through bold leadership and the implementation of programs and policies by state and local health departments, hospitals and health care providers. Also, a more accurate method of measuring pregnancy length recently was adopted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The new measurement already is used by most other high-resource countries.
The March of Dimes says it recognizes that continued research to identify new medical advances to prevent preterm birth is necessary in order to reach the new goal. The March of Dimes has invested in a nationwide network of five new prematurity research centers to find the unknown causes of this still too-common problem and potential solutions.
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.
Maine ranked first on the index with the smallest gaps between racial and ethnic groups in its preterm birth rate, while the District of Columbia had the largest gaps. Among the nation’s top 100 cities with the most births, Portland, Oregon has the lowest preterm birth rate at 7.2 percent.
The March of Dimes Board of Trustees set a new goal to lower the national preterm birth rate to 8.1 percent by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. Reaching the March of Dimes 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 nearly $70 billion, the March of Dimes estimates.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign is guided by a Steering Committee of six leadership organizations. In addition to the March of Dimes, members include: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP); the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO); the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.
SA Nov 23, 2015: Report on premature births gives isles ‘C’ grade