Preterm babies a concern in the U.S.

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(WTVR) - Premature babies often struggle to live and can have health problems as they grow.

A comprehensive new report shows nearly half a million American babies are born too soon each year.

According to the findings preterm babies are born at a higher rate in the United States than in 130 other countries.

Twelve percent in the U.S. are preterm, meaning born before 37 weeks.

That’s the same rate at Thailand, Turkey and Somalia.

The earlier the baby is delivered, the greater the chance he or she will suffer lifelong health problems.

Experts say one reason is mothers here have children later in life which increases chances for multiple pregnancies., and that results in early deliveries.

The report is a joint effort from the March of Dimes, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Save the Children and the World Health Organization.