Burr Introduces Healthy Start Legislation

Bill aims to reduce infant mortality

U.S. Senator Richard Burr today introduced the bipartisan Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2007 with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The bill reauthorizes the successful Healthy Start program, which supports activities to reduce infant mortality in the United States by addressing the factors that lead to low birth weight and other complications. Healthy Start provides services designed to improve the quality of and access to health care for mothers and infants. This includes outreach, prenatal and postnatal care, health education, and case management.

"Healthy Start is a practical government program that saves lives, saves money, and helps to ensure our nation's children have a bright future," Burr said. "When women do not receive adequate prenatal care, they are much more likely to have babies with low birth weights and other health complications. Healthy Start ensures high-risk mothers and babies have the resources they need to begin life in good health."

The Healthy Start program has been helping to reduce infant mortality rates in America since the program was first created in 1991. In 1998, only 42% of expectant mothers in the Healthy Start program areas received prenatal care. In 2003, that number reached 72%, an increase of over 70%. Although the Healthy Start program has been largely successful, much work remains to be done. North Carolina has the tenth highest infant mortality rate in the country; 8.35 out of every 1,000 babies born in the state will not live to be one year old, well above the national average of 6.9 deaths per 1,000 births.