Premature birth now #1 killer of children under 5 years old

GeddesA new study the in The Lancet reports that preterm birth has surpassed infection as the #1 cause of death for children under the age of five. The study, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that complications due to preterm birth result in ~3,000 lives per day. The Guardian summarizes:

The study, published to mark World Prematurity Day on 17 November, showed that direct complications from preterm births accounted for 965,000 deaths during the first 28 days of life, with an additional 125,000 deaths between the ages of one month and five years.

Today, November 17th, 2014, is World Prematurity Day, a day for raising awareness of preterm birth. Please help to raise awareness by sharing this story using #WorldPrematurityDay. You can also make a donation to the March of Dimes. For more information on preterm birth, download the March of Dimes Premature Birth Infographic.

PROTECT is researching the relationship between environmental contaminants and preterm birth. At 16.9%, Puerto Rico has the world’s second highest rate of preterm birth (behind Malawi). You can read more about our research here.