Report highlights kids health, need for prenatal care

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/AP) The numbers are in and it's not all good news for Tennessee kids and their health. A report released Friday shows kids' wellness has improved in several areas, but there's still room to grow.

State health and child welfare experts released the latest Kids Count report, which this year examined challenges to raising children in Tennessee, and whether state programs are doing enough to help them.

Among the report's findings was that a fourth of kids live in poverty, and less than a third of teens from poor families are finding work.

It also showed that nearly half of the state's pregnant women don't receive adequate prenatal care.

Knoxville's Lisa Ross Birthing Center says prenatal care is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and birth.

"Studies show that women who don't get prenatal care or have very inadequate prenatal care three times more likely to have preterm delivery and five times more likely to experience infant mortality," said nurse Linda Cole.

Linda O'Neal is executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and was among those discussing the report.

According to The Tennessean, O'Neal said the poor economy has hurt the welfare of children in Tennessee, which "highlights the importance of public programs" like the one that provides in-home visits for families with newborns.

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