Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Preterm Birth Rates and Infant Death Rates Drop

Federal Report Shows No Change in Rates of Childhood Asthma, Obesity
WebMD Health News

July 13, 2012 -- The U.S. preterm birth rate dropped for the fourth year in a row, according to a new federal report.

In 2010, 12% of infants were born before 37 weeks, down from 12.8% in 2006.

Babies born too early are at higher risk for many long-term health and developmental problems. This decline was primarily seen among infants delivered late preterm or between 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy.

The study also showed that fewer infants are dying within their first year of life. This rate decreased from 6.4 per 1,000 births in 2009 to 6.1 per 1,000 births in 2010.

While the report, "America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012," does show some progress in key measures of health, significant challenges still exist.

According to the data, almost 10% of children ages 0 to 17 in the U.S. had asthma in 2010, and about 20% of children aged 6 to 17 were obese. The obesity rates have remained unchanged since 2001-2002.

"It's a mixed picture," says Alan E. Guttmacher, MD. He is the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md. "Rates of preterm birth and infant mortality are going down and that is wonderful news, but these rates are still higher than we would like it to be," he tells WebMD. "Childhood obesity and childhood asthma continue to be major problems, and we would like to see more gains there for sure."

Report Shows Some Positive Trends

The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a group of 22 federal agencies. Most of the data have been previously reported elsewhere.

According to the new report:

  • The teen birth rate continues to decline, decreasing from almost 20 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in 2009 to 17 per 1,000 in 2010.
  • Births to single women aged 15 to 44 fell from 2009 to 2010.
  • 7.3 million children did not have health insurance at least once in 2010.
  • In 2010, 5% of children aged 0 to 17 had no usual source of health care.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Woman looking at pregnancy test
calendar and baby buggy
dark chocolate squares