2013-05-23 / Community

Area 36th in infant health report

LANSING – A new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy’s Kids Count in Michigan states that Michigan has made little progress in improving maternal and infant health from 2005 to 2011.

The report ranks the state’s 54 Great Start Collaboratives, or GSCs, on eight maternal and infant health measures. Livingston GSC is No. 1, or best, while Genesee and Wayne GSCs tied for last.

The Delta-Schoolcraft GSC ranked 36th. Out of a total of 446 births, 49.8 percent of those were to uninsured, low-income women. Additionally, 48 of those births were preterm.

Statewide, the largest increase in risk was in more births to unmarried women, rising from 36 percent of all births to 42 percent, an 18 percent jump.

“High unemployment, particularly among men, has been cited as a major reason to delay or reject marriage,’’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan Project director. “Unfortunately, children born to single mothers are much more likely to face economic hardships and insecurity. Policies that grow opportunities for low-income workers will help.’’

The most positive change was a nine percent improvement in repeat teen births, to teen moms who already had a child, showing that public policy can make a difference. Michigan’s teen birth rate has been halved since 1990 as the result of a sustained public health and education campaign.

IOf the eight indicators, five could be tracked over time, generally from 2005 to 2011. Staying about the same were teen births (9.4 percent of all births), preterm births (10.6 percent of all births) and low-birthweight babies weighing less than 5.5 pounds (8.4 percent of all births).

Delta-Schoolcraft’s GSC infant and maternal health report can be found at www.mlpp.org/ wp- content/ uploads/ 2013/ 04/ DeltaSchoolcraft-RS-GSC.pdf.

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