10.03.08

President Signs Bill to Reduce Infant Mortality

Burr, Brown bill extends Healthy Start program

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) applauded President Bush for signing S. 1760, the Healthy Start Reauthorization Act of 2007, into law The legislation was introduced by Senator Burr and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in July of 2007. The bill aims to reduce infant mortality in the United States by extending the successful Healthy Start program which addresses the risk factors that lead to low birth weight and other health complications in babies and mothers. The initiative began in 1991 and this bipartisan legislation would extend the program through 2013.

"I am very glad we have taken this important step to continue programs that help save lives and ensure our children are healthy," Burr said. "This law will ensure that Healthy Start programs in North Carolina will continue to reduce infant mortality rates, premature births, and low birth weight."

North Carolina has the tenth highest infant mortality rate in the country; 8.35 out of every 1,000 babies born in the state do not live to be one year old. The national average is 6.9 deaths per 1,000 births. In 1998, only 42% of women in the Healthy Start program areas received prenatal care. In 2003, that number reached 72%.