A new report says smoking and a lack of insurance contributed to a rise in the number of premature births in the state compared with year earlier statistics.
The March of Dimes "Prematurity Report Card" shows a sixth consecutive drop in the preterm birth rate in the U.S. The report says the 2012 rate of 11.5 percent is a 15 year low. Wisconsin's 2012 preterm birth rate of 10.5 percent was up a tenth of a point from year earlier figures. However, the rate of uninsured women in the state rose from 11.2 percent to 11.8 percent. The report also shows the percentage of women ages 18 to 44 in Wisconsin who smoke is higher than the national average. Jodi Legge, Executive Director of teh March of Dimes in Wisconsin says the latest statistics represent a mixed picture. "Although we made great progress in reducing our nation's preterm birth rate from historic highs, the U.S.still has the highest rate of preterm births of any industrialized nation," Legge says.