Both Florida and Duval County received poor remarks for their rates of premature birth, netting D’s on the 2020 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, released during Prematurity Awareness Month.
Florida, with a premature birth rate of 10.6 percent, received a D+. Duval County received a D- for its rate of 11.4 percent, the highest among the state’s largest counties. Premature birth is a leading cause of infant death in Northeast Florida and across the country, and can lead to life-long health issues for infants that survive. There are also considerable racial disparities in premature birth –the preterm birth rate among Black women in Northeast Florida is one-third higher than the rate among all other women.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign aims to reduce preterm birth rates across the United States. Premature Birth Report Card grades are assigned by comparing the 2019 preterm birth rate in a state or locality to the March of Dimes goal of 8.1 percent by 2020.