Tennessee works to lower premature births

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee officials say they're already working to improve the failing grade the state received from the March of Dimes.

Tennessee was among 18 states that got an "F" when the March of Dimes released its state-by-state report card last week. No state received an "A."

The report asked states to address the top factors in premature births: lack of insurance, smoking mothers and babies born between 34 and 37 weeks.

Rashonda Lewis is a director from the Office of Children's Care Coordination in Tennessee. She says the state has spent $16 million since 2006 on programs to aid "underserved" expecting mothers with prenatal care, smoking cessation and baby health.

Lewis says it will take time to see dramatic changes from current programs.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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