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U.S. Gets a Near Failing Grade on Premature Births Report Card

The report card did not give an A to a single state. Vermont, which has a preterm birth rate of 9 percent, got a B, while 17 states got F’s, including Mississippi, with a preterm birth rate of 18.3 percent. The prematurity rate in Puerto Rico, at 19.4 percent, was the highest in the country.

The nationwide rate has barely budged in the most recent three years reported -- to 12.7 percent in 2007, according to preliminary figures, from 12.8 percent in 2006 and 12.7 percent in 2005. It was 11.4 percent in 1997.

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