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Announcement: Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week --- February 7--14, 2011

Congenital heart defects affect nearly 1% of newborns in the United States and are a leading cause of infant mortality (1,2). Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, held February 7--14 this year, is an annual observance to promote awareness and education about these defects. A total of 31 states have birth defects surveillance programs, all of which include efforts to identify the characteristics of children with congenital heart defects, identify health disparities in their occurrence and survival rates, and help ensure that affected children receive the necessary medical care and services (3).

CDC's National Birth Defects Prevention Study has reported finding increased risk for congenital heart defects associated with maternal obesity (4), diabetes (5), and smoking (6). Health-care providers should encourage their patients who are thinking about becoming pregnant to maintain a healthy weight, control diagnosed diabetes, and quit smoking. Additional information regarding congenital heart defects is available at


  1. Botto LD, Correa A, Erickson JD. Racial and temporal variations in the prevalence of heart defects. Pediatrics 2001;107:e32.
  2. CDC. Trends in infant mortality attributable to birth defects---United States, 1980--1995. MMWR 1998;47:773--8.
  3. National Birth Defects Prevention Network. Selected birth defects data from population-based birth defects surveillance programs in the United States, 2003--2007. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2010;88: 1062--174
  4. Gilboa SM, Correa A, Botto LD, et al, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Association between prepregnancy body mass index and congenital heart defects. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2010;202:51.e1--10.
  5. Correa A, Gilboa S, Besser LM, et al. Diabetes mellitus and birth defects. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2008;199:237.e1--9.
  6. Malik S, Cleves MA, Honein MA, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Maternal smoking and congenital heart defects. Pediatrics 2008;121:e810--6.

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