West Virginia's premature birth rate declines again - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

West Virginia's premature birth rate declines again

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) -- The March of Dimes reports that West Virginia's preterm birth rate has decreased for the sixth year in a row.

However, the state's rate of 12.4 percent isn't low enough to change its grade from a "C" on the organization's 2013 Premature Birth Rate Report card. The national average is 11.5 percent.

Amanda Tritt is community director for the West Virginia March of Dimes. She tells the Times West Virginian that the improvement is encouraging. She says the organization has been focusing on outreach and education to improve the health of babies in West Virginia, but there are still areas that need improvement. The state still has the highest rate of smoking, as well as a high rate of drug abuse, during pregnancy.

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