New Program Works To Improve Ohio’s Infant Mortality Rate

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A new effort will focus on trying to improve Ohio's infant mortality rate, which is one of the worst in the nation.

The national rate dropped by 11 percent from 2000 to 2010, but in Ohio it increased 3 percent. The state's infant-mortality rate of 7.7 per 1,000 births ranks 48th in the nation. The rate for black babies is 49th.

The top causes of infant deaths in Ohio include low birth weight, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome.

State health department director, Dr. Ted Wymyslo, says it's a community problem. He says many deaths can be prevented by improving health even before conception.

The health department is partnering with a national organization for a three-year project designed to reduce the disparities between white and black infant-mortality rates.