Study Seeks to Understand Increase in Premature Birth Rate

North Carolina has been ranked by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as having the 12th highest premature birth rate in the country. To learn more about this growing health issue, UNC researchers T. Michael O’Shea, MD, MPH, and Rebecca C. Fry, PhD, have been collaborating with research centers nation-wide as part of the ELGAN-ECHO Research Study, now in its third stage.

Study Seeks to Understand Increase in Premature Birth Rate click to enlarge Michael O'Shea, MD, MPH and Rebecca Fry, PhD

North Carolina has been ranked by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as having the 12th highest premature birth rate in the country (I). According to data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, more than 10% of births in 2016 in North Carolina occurred prior to 37 weeks of gestation (compared to 9.85% national rate, 7.8-13.7% range across states).

To learn more about this growing health issue, UNC researchers T. Michael O’Shea, MD, MPH and Rebecca C. Fry, PhD, have been collaborating with research centers nation-wide as part of the ELGAN-ECHO Research Study, now in its third stage. ELGAN (Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns), is a collaboration across 12 study sites with 800 active participants born between 2002-2004. ECHO (Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes) consists of 83 research cohorts with hopes to reach 50,000 children by 2023. Together, ELGAN-ECHO tracks children born prematurely to determine how gestational age and environmental exposures can effect health as preterm children develop.

Read more from The Children's Research Institute.

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