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Preterm Birth Rate Falls for Fourth Straight Year

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal health officials on Thursday reported a decline in the preterm birth rate to just fewer than 12 percent of all births.

Premature births fell six percent from 2009 to 2010. The rate has now fallen four years in a row.

“Preterm birth is such an important risk factor and is associated with infant mortality, so declines in preterm birth are really very good news,” said the CDC's Stephanie Ventura.

“Forty-four states and D.C. have seen declines since 2006 in preterm births,” Ventura said. “So whatever the factors are, it's widespread -- broad-based.”

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