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Hate Crimes on the rise in the United States. Also on the Wednesday rundown: a big hearing in Denver on a proposed rollback of methane limits; plus find out about "Give to the Max Day."

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Improving Tennessee’s Shocking Infant Death Rate

December 18, 2008

Nashville, TN – For every 1,000 babies born in Tennessee, nine die in their first year, and the rate is far higher for African Americans--it's a rate that rivals the infant mortality in some third-countries. In Memphis, the numbers are the highest in the state, with a child dying every 43 hours.

Health officials say the leading cause is babies born too soon, but there are ways to substantially reduce those premature births. Barbara Nicholson, with Attachment Parenting International, says one example is "Centering Pregnancy." This program offers group care where moms-to-be are taught to take their own blood pressure and chart their weight.

"This is group care of pregnant moms in the care of a midwife and this results in a 41 percent reduction in infant mortality in the African-American community."

Gov. Phil Bredesen has pledged $6 million toward such programs. According to Nicholson, it will be money well spent.

"If we put money into prevention, it's going to save us millions. When we have better outcomes, prevention is always the cheapest and safest alternative."

The state now funds five "Centering Pregnancy" programs: four in Memphis and one in Madisonville, with other sites planned for Nashville and Chattanooga.

Deborah Smith/Dick Layman, Public News Service - TN