The high rate of premature births in the United States remains a public health concern. These infants experience substantial morbidity and mortality in the newborn period, which translate into significant medical costs. In early childhood, survivors are characterized by a variety of health problems, including motor delay and/or cerebral palsy, lower IQs, behavior problems, and respiratory illness, especially asthma. Many experience difficulty with school work, lower health-related quality of life, and family stress. Emerging information in adolescence and young adulthood paints a more optimistic picture, with persistence of many problems but with better adaptation and more positive expectations by the young adults. Few opportunities for prevention have been identified; therefore, public health approaches to prematurity include assurance of delivery in a facility capable of managing neonatal complications, quality improvement to minimize interinstitutional variations, early developmental support for such infants, and attention to related family health issues.