Report Shows Birth Defects, Prematurity Rates Among Latino Babies Growing Concern

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

One in four babies born in the United States is Hispanic, making this ethnic group the fastest growing in the country. Although that’s the case, babies born to Hispanic women are significantly more likely than those born to other racial and ethnic groups to have serious birth defects of the brain and spine, according to a March of Dimes report released today.

“Maternal and Infant Health in U.S. Hispanic Populations: Prematurity and Related Health Indicators” also found that the number of Hispanic preterm births is improving at a slower rate than other ethnicities, meaning the gap between Hispanic and white preterm birth rates is growing. While March of Dimes is currently funding research to improve birth outcomes among Hispanic women, one reason for these disparities may be that Hispanic women have a lower intake of folic acid, according to the report.

The just-released report outlines alarming data about the health of Hispanic babies. More research is needed to understand the genetics, nutrition, environment and other factors associated with these outcomes. The report recommends that Hispanic women and families need greater access to information from providers, community programs, and media about healthy pregnancies. March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit or

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