State infant mortality numbers released

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Alabama is improving when it comes to its infant mortality rate. Wednesday, the state health officer announced that in 2009, almost 100 more babies survived compared to the prior year.

Dr. Don Williamson says it's the lowest number of baby deaths in the state's history.

He says there are a number of reasons why fewer low-weight babies are born of late. More      low-weight babies are living longer than in previous years and the number of teen births is down by over 200.

"We clearly know that teen births are associated with higher infant mortality rate.  About 50 percent higher," Williams said.  "So having fewer teen deaths will reduce the infant mortality rate."  Williamson says the racial disparity still continues in this area. African-American babies die at a higher rate than white babies.  And overall, Alabama still lags far behind the national average.

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