Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Local News

November 4, 2013

State's infant mortality rates worsening

Gov. Mike Pence calls situation 'deplorable.'

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence told public health officials from around the state that the rising number of babies dying in Indiana before they reach their first birthday is “deplorable” and challenged them to think of new ways to combat the state’s worsening infant mortality rates.

“This is not about reducing numbers. This is about reducing heartache,” Pence said Friday, in his opening remarks at the state’s first-ever Infant Mortality Summit.

More than 500 people who attended the summit heard Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess say it was “just not acceptable” that Indiana now has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation. The rate was 7.7 deaths out of every 1,000 babies born in 2011 (the latest numbers available) compared to the national rate of 6.05 deaths per 1,000 births. That’s make Indiana’s infant mortality rate the 6th highest in the nation.

VanNess said the implications of those numbers are cause for alarm. “Infant mortality is the number one indicator of health status in the world,” said VanNess, an Anderson doctor who took on the role of the state’s top health officer earlier this year.

He also acknowledged that public health officials face a major challenge in bringing the infant death rate down since the causes are multiple and complex. There are a range of risk factors for pregnant women, including obesity, smoking and lack of prenatal care, that contribute to higher infant death rates.

Indiana doesn’t fare well: Almost one-third of pregnant women in Indiana don’t receive prenatal care in their first trimester; almost 17 percent of pregnant women are smokers, compared to the national rate of 9 percent; and the state ranks 8th in the number of obese citizens.

The decision to tackle the infant mortality rate also comes at a time when resources are declining: VanNess said state and county health department budgets, two-thirds of which are funded by the federal government, will continue to see cuts.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • BK rebuild 04 Peru restaurant B-K West rebuilding after tornado

    PERU -- B-K West is more than just a drive-in restaurant to its owner, J.D. Hann. It's a piece of his childhood, a historic Peru landmark, and it's his baby. "I grew up with this place," the 57-year-old Peru native said. "We used to walk the tracks o

    April 16, 2014 7 Photos

  • Congresswoman Susan Brooks backs manufacturing training efforts Congresswoman Susan Brooks' own personal manufacturing experience may have been limited to three months in a Kendallville caramel factory as a college student, but in her congressional roles, she's having an impact on the skills debate. In Kokomo Tue

    April 16, 2014

  • Superintendent of Ind Ed 01 State Superintendent Glenda Ritz visits Peru, discusses new standards

    PERU -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said Tuesday she is comfortable with the quick pace at which new academic standards are moving from concept to classroom. The Indiana Department of Education released a final draft of new

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

  • Chrysler CEO will headline Tipton plant opening Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will preside over the grand opening of the company's fifth north central Indiana plant, the Tipton Transmission Plant, at a ceremony May 13, company officials announced Tuesday. In February 2013, Chrysler announced it w

    April 16, 2014

  • More than 70 businesses participate in annual job fair More than 70 local businesses got a look at the workforce of tomorrow during Tuesday's Kokomo Area Job Fair at the Ivy Tech Kokomo Event & Conference Center. The event, put on as a partnership between Indiana University Kokomo and Ivy Tech Community

    April 16, 2014

  • Kokomo episode of 'My First Home' airs Saturday A cautious cat-lover will search for the perfect house in Kokomo on Saturday's episode of "My First Home" on TLC. The episode airs at noon and features Kokomo real estate agent Gena Martin and first-time homebuyer Steven Underwood. In its description

    April 16, 2014

  • Easter basket workshop Thursday Generous individuals and businesses in town donated enough candy, games and books to fill more than 500 Easter baskets at this year's Tom Carey Easter Basket Workshop. The workshop starts at 10 a.m. Thursday. Any families that are strapped for cash t

    April 16, 2014

  • IUK to give Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne honorary degree Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will be at Indiana University Kokomo’s May 13 commencement to accept an honorary degree from Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, IUK officials announced. In a statement, McRobbie credited Marchionne with engi

    April 15, 2014

  • Cheryl Marner aims to cross finish line during this year's Boston Marathon Cheryl Marner was a mile from the finish line at last year's Boston Marathon when all of the runners in front of her suddenly stopped. The race had come to a halt, and at the time, she didn't know why. "There was a lot of confusion," she said. "I hea

    April 15, 2014

  • Property taxes to increase Many of the residents in Howard County can expect an increase in their property taxes when bills are mailed out later this week. Tax rate increases, a smaller homestead tax credit collection from the state and a decrease in the county's overall net a

    April 15, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries