programs such as educational interventions could potentially be used to address these issues. Further, some evidence suggests that healthy diets and exercise may be important. Educational interventions may also be useful in promoting healthy behaviors. As noted above, changes in the built environment of disadvantaged neighborhoods, such as the presence of safe parks and grocery stores, could also potentially reduce the rate of preterm birth by promoting healthy behaviors.
Finally, environmental exposures may play a role in preterm birth, as discussed in Chapter 8. Reducing such exposures could be addressed by targeted environmental policies. However, further evidence needs to be developed before specific recommendations related to environmental exposures can be made.
Finding 14-3: Effective public policies that will reduce the rates of preterm birth and improve the outcomes for infants born preterm will require a better understanding of the determinants of preterm birth and the determinants of healthy outcomes for infants born preterm and better information on effective interventions. Preterm birth is associated with large expenditures across a wide range of public programs, including those for health care, education, and income support. Public investment in reducing the rate of preterm birth has the potential to result in large cost savings not only to society as a whole but also to the public sector.