Report: Ohio ranked 5th worst state for infant mortality, worst state for African American babies

CINCINNATI -- A new report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Ohio's infant mortality rate was the fifth worst in the country in 2011, and the worst state for African American infant deaths.

The report shows that 1,087 Ohio infants died in 2011, approximately eight children per every 1,000 live births.

Cradle Cincinnati, a collaborative of health and civic leaders who came together to reduce the infant mortality rate in Hamilton County, have strong words about the report.

“Today’s numbers are a sobering reminder that we have to make this issue a priority," said Todd Portune, Cradle Cincinnati Co-Chair and Hamilton County Commissioner. "Infant mortality reduction should move to the top of the agenda for all elected leaders, business leaders and health leaders in Hamilton County.  I am calling on anyone interested in making a difference to join the partnership at Cradle Cincinnati.  We are making changes throughout our community that will ensure we do not continue to see so many babies dying before their first birthday in Hamilton County.”

The report shows that 703 Caucasian babies died in 2011, at a rate of approximately six babies per every 1,000 live births. The rate more than doubles for African American babies with approximately 15 infants dying every 1,000 live births. 373 African American infants died in 2011.

Hamilton County 2011 Infant Mortality Rate

For the CDC's full report on Infant Mortality in 2011, CLICK HERE.

“It is particularly appalling to see just how poorly African American babies are doing throughout the state," said Wendell Young, Cradle Cincinnati Co-Chair and Cincinnati City Council member. "Through Cradle Cincinnati, I am committed to working with partners that address the inequities we see in health.  We cannot continue to accept a society where your zip code or the color of your skin dictates whether or not your child will live to see their first birthday.”

Cradle Cincinnati announced in June an agreement on a strategy and the results of a $1.3 million fundraising campaign that will give the community new resources to make a difference in addressing pregnancy health.

“The unacceptably high number of Ohio babies who die before reaching their first birthday simply breaks my heart, which is why for nearly a year, I’ve been traveling our state, meeting with advocates, and trying to raise awareness for this tragic, and often preventable problem," said Shannon Jones, State Senator. "In the Senate, we have a series of bills designed to address infant mortality, and while we haven’t yet found the perfect formula to put this problem to rest, I believe these initiatives have the potential to move us forward on the issue in an impactful way."

To visit Cradle Cincinnati's website, CLICK HERE.

RELATED: Rocking the cradle: Local experts disagree on the best way to reduce rates of infant mortality

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