Report: MI leads in premature births, sick infants

According to a new study, babies born in Detroit are sicker and arrive earlier than babies born in other major U.S. cities. The report, which analyzed data over a 15-year period ending in 2005, showed 14.1 percent of babies born in Detroit were less than 5.5 pounds, the worst rank among 50 major cities studied by Kids Count. The state also ranked worst on preterm births, which accounted for 19.8 percent of all births there. Meanwhile, 73 percent of babies born in the city were born to unmarried women.

While the city offers prenatal clinics and home visit programs, Detroit is looking at additional measures to address infant health. For example, the city's Department of Health and Wellness Promotion is considering instituting a new program, the Place Matters Initiative, using female members of a community to teach younger women about prenatal care and access to Medicaid and other assistance programs.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Detroit Free Press article