Priority Area: Healthy Mothers,Healthy Babies,Healthy Children

Maternal, infant and child mortality and morbidity are key indicators of the health of a society. These measures are a reflection of the current health status of a large segment of the U.S. population and a predictor of the health of the next generation. Maternal and child health must continue to remain a priority in New York State (NYS).

Infant mortality and childhood asthma hospitalization rates have been decreasing in New York State over the last decade, with an infant mortality rate lower than the Healthy People 2020 goals. Over this same time period, NYS has seen a slight increase in the percent of low birthweight infants, while the percent of women receiving early prenatal care has seen little or no improvement. However the percent of women receiving early prenatal care has declined each year from 71.3% in 2005 to 66.5% in 2008.

These rates also do not meet the Healthy People 2020 goals. In addition, the incidence of elevated lead levels in blood among children is still higher than Healthy People 2020 goals in some counties.

The cost of poor maternal, infant and child health is significant. According to one study,1 the total societal economic burden associated with preterm birth is at least $26.2 billion, an average of $51,600 for each preterm infant. In another study,2 the cost of neonatal care for infants of mothers who smoked is estimated to be $367 million nationwide, with New York State's cost estimated to be about $23 million.

There are many modifiable risk behaviors that positively impact the health of New York's children and adolescents, such as good nutrition, timely immunizations, reduced exposure to lead and other toxins, smoking cessation, management of chronic diseases, and access to primary, preventive and dental health care. Many risk factors and poor outcomes such as low birthweight, inadequate immunization, and greater exposure to lead and environmental toxins disproportionately affect racial, ethnic and lower socioeconomic groups.


  1. Behrman RE, Butler AS, ed., Preterm birth: causes, consequences and prevention. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2007.
  2. Adams EK, Miller VP, Ernst C, Nishimura BK, Melvin R Neonatal health care costs related to smoking during pregnancy. Health Economics, 2002 April;11:193-206.

Indicators for Tracking Public Health Priority Areas


  • By the year 2013, increase the percentage of women in New York who received prenatal care in the first trimester to at least 90%.*(Baseline: 75.4%, Vital Statistics, 2005)
  • By the year 2013, reduce the percent of New York births that are low birthweight (<2,500 grams) to no more than 5%.*(Baseline: 8.3%, Vital Statistics, 2005)
  • By the year 2013, reduce New York's rate of infant deaths to no more than 4.5 deaths per 1,000 births.*(Baseline: 5.8/1,000, Vital Statistics, 2005)
  • By the year 2013, increase the percentage of New York children aged 19 to 35 months who are fully immunized (4 DTaP, 3 Polio, 1 MMR, 3 Hib, 3 HepB) to at least 90%. (Baseline: 82.4%, National Immunization Survey, 2006)
  • By the year 2013, increase the percentage of New York children who had at least one lead screening test by 36 months of age to at least 96%. (Baseline: 77% NYS excl. NYC, NYS Childhood Lead Program data, 2002 birth cohort)
  • By the year 2013, reduce the prevalence of tooth decay in New York 3rd grade children to no more than 42%.* (Baseline: 54.1%, NYS Oral Health Survey, 2004)
  • By the year 2013, reduce New York's adolescent pregnancy rate (births, fetal deaths, and induced abortions) to no more than 28 per 1,000 females aged 15-17. (Baseline: 36.5/1,000 females 15-17 yrs., Vital Statistics, 2005)

    * Healthy People 2010 Objective

    (Note: A childhood asthma hospitalization objective is included in the priority area section entitled, Healthy Environment.)

County Strategies and Partners Matrix

The County Strategies and Partners Matrix for Healthy Mothers,Healthy Babies,Healthy Children was compiled from the 2010-2013 community health assessments submitted in 2009 by 12 local health departments. It describes how local health departments collaborate with hospitals and community organizations to plan and address this priority to improve population health outcomes.

Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies

Healthy Children