Ohio Department of Health Releases 2016 Ohio Infant Mortality Report

A new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) shows that the number of Ohio infants who died before their first birthday increased from 1,005 in 2015 to 1,024 in 2016, but it also shows that there were 22% fewer sleep-related infant deaths in 2016 than in 2015. That decline can be attributed to Ohio’s focus on preventing sleep-related infant deaths through public awareness campaigns and programs to provide free cribs to eligible parents.

Prematurity-related conditions are the leading causes of infant deaths in Ohio. Although the number of prematurity-related infant deaths increased from 2015 to 2016, however, Ohio’s prematurity infant mortality rate (the number of preterm infant deaths per 1,000 live births) has not changed significantly in the past decade.

Ohio is addressing many of the contributing factors related to premature births, such as smoking, and identifying and treating women at risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy—conditions which increase the risk of having a preterm or low-birth-weight baby. One successful intervention is the use of progesterone (a hormone medication) in at-risk women to help reduce the likelihood of preterm birth.

The current state budget dedicates almost $50 million to improving birth outcomes and reducing racial and ethnic disparities, and it builds on almost $87 million in investments made during the past six years. The majority of state funding is dedicated to supporting local community-driven proposals to combat infant mortality in high-risk areas.

During the next two years, additional community-based pilot programs with proven track records in reducing infant mortality will be launched, according to ODH, and the evidence-based CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care model will be expanded.

Ohio will also leverage federal grants to support local infant mortality initiatives during the next year to assist 27 Ohio counties at risk for poor birth or childhood developmental outcomes to expand local voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with young children; and to assist 14 Ohio counties with the highest infant mortality rates for African-American babies to promote healthy pregnancies, positive birth outcomes, and healthy infant growth and development.

The state’s goal is to reach the national objective of a 6.0 infant mortality rate or lower in every race and ethnicity group. Although Ohio’s overall (all races) infant mortality rate increased from 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015 to 7.4 in 2016, its infant mortality rates are trending downward over time.

The complete 2016 Ohio Infant Mortality Report is available here. Ohio’s infant mortality website, www.PreventInfantMortality.ohio.gov, contains additional information, tools and resources on the topic.


NOTE: The AMCNO executive staff and Past President Dr. Laura David have been on board with First Year Cleveland, our local initiative to combat infant mortality, since its initial stages. We will continue to participate in FYC meetings and report new information on this campaign to our members.

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