Kids Count Results

A new report shows no improvement on the rate of babies born in Tennessee with low birth weights.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth partnered with the Annie E. Casey foundation to produce “Kids Count: The state of the Child in Tennessee.” Its findings were released today. The Commission’s Executive Director, Linda O’Neal, says low birth weight is one of many problems that continue to adversely affect children.

“They include other issues such as obesity and substance abuse and risky sexual behavior is adolescence. The challenge at the state and local level is to now take this information and make the kind of changes in what we fund and what we do so that we’re doing the kinds of things that make a difference.”

The numbers from 2004 show Tennessee’s infant mortality rate was nearly the worst in the nation, ranking 48th among other states. Statistics show that low birth weight and infant mortality are closely linked.

The state’s report did show a bit of good news – Tennessee’s teen pregnancy rate improved slightly. O’Neal says that will help lower infant mortality and low birth weight rates, but she stressed that reducing teen pregancies will not solve the problem.

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