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Identifying the increases in preterm birth rates in Fresno County, California

Hand holding baby's foot

What is the problem?

Research shows that preterm birth is associated with the mother's exposure to traffic pollutants and lead. A routine review of data on the California Environmental Health Tracking Network revealed a pattern in the risk of preterm birth in Fresno County, one of the major population centers in the state's Central Valley area.

What did Tracking do?

California's Tracking Program informed the Fresno Department of Public Health of the trends. The local health department asked the Tracking Network for more data about:

  • Preterm birth trends reported by race and ethnicity.
  • Maternal Infant Health (MIH) indicators, including very preterm birth (less than 32 weeks gestation).
  • Rates by census tracts.

Improved public health

Fresno County used the information to identify locations for targeting activities that are related to childhood lead poisoning, air quality, and asthma. Fresno County officials reported that the data and assistance from the tracking network were very helpful to the local childhood lead poisoning prevention program.

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