Astoria Mayor Willis Van Dusen has declared Tuesday as Prematurity Awareness Day. One in nine babies in Clatsop County are born too soon.

Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause in serious lifelong health problems, the county reports. Premature birth rates are on the rise, up 18 percent in Oregon since 1992.

The March of Dimes is working to increase education and research to premature birth issues. For information, go to its new Web site (www.clicktosavebabies.org)

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