According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Minority Health African Americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites. They are almost four times as likely to die as infants due to complications related to low birth weight, compared to non-Hispanic white infants.
Losing a baby is devastating and no parent should have to go through this. That’s why it’s important to remind the community to do what you can to take care of your family and yourself. My district has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Wisconsin, which is why I want to call your attention to the fact that September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. I encourage everyone to help reduce the infant mortality rate in our community.
To raise awareness of this serious problem, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Minority Health adopted the theme “A Healthy Baby Begins with You and You and You.” In a nation as sophisticated as ours, there is no reason why infant deaths and mortality rates were one of the four leading causes of death for Africans Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Statistics (2009).
Lifestyle plays a role in this devastating problem and, among those factors—which may surprise you—is low birth weight resulting from mothers using tobacco products or being exposed to second hand smoke. The Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention & Poverty Network (WTPPN) is working hard to help the community understand the negative effects that tobacco products can have on infant mortality and other health issues. They need your help and support to continue to spread the word.
Let’s turn these statistics around, as we take control of our lives. You have the power to change and give your children a better and healthier start in life.
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