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Baby Report Card Issued for Ohio

August 6, 2008

Columbus, OH - It's report card time for Ohio's babies. An Annie E. Casey Foundation study released today tracks statistics related to the health of infants and finds 97 percent of Ohio moms get timely prenatal care. Ohio Kids Count project director Barbara Turpin says that improves the likelihood of baby being born full-term and at a healthy weight. And while the statistic is strong for prenatal care, she says a closer look at the data shows geographic disadvantage.

"In the rural areas especially, there is a lack of prenatal care availability for mothers, whether they're young mothers, or mothers who have planned to have a pregnancy."

The report tracks the educational level of the mother and whether she smoked during pregnancy. It also counts births to unmarried women, which in Ohio amount to about 40 percent of all births. Turpin says babies born to women of color are more likely to have strikes against them. The conditions under which infants are born can have lifelong effects on a child's development and school performance, she adds.

The report zeroed in on Columbus and Cleveland, where at least 20 percent of teen births are to young women who already have had at least one child. Turpin says that shows the need for education and confidence-boosting training.

"Girls really need to start developing a positive self-image, to be prepared for later down the road when the risk is there for becoming pregnant."

The full report is available at www.aecf.org. More information on Ohio Kids Count is available at www.cdfohio.org.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - OH