- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - New state figures show a slight drop in Ohio’s overall infant mortality rate, though the rate for black infants is nearly three times that of whites.

Infant mortality is measured as deaths of live-born babies before their first birthdays. The three leading causes in Ohio are prematurity or pre-term births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects.

Data released Friday from the Ohio Department of Health shows the state’s overall infant mortality rate ticked down to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births last year, compared with 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. But the rate for black infants went up to 14.3, significantly exceeding last year’s 5.3 rate for white babies.

Ohio health officials say the latest figures don’t capture recent efforts to address the problem.

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