Racial Differences Exist for Infant Mortality Rates in America

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After years of progress, researchers say there is a recent rise in mortality rates for black infants.
After years of progress, researchers say there is a recent rise in mortality rates for black infants.

HealthDay News -- According to a research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics, the mortality rate for black infants in the United States has risen in recent years. 

The new study looked at 2005 to 2015 data from a major US government database.

Corinne Riddell, PhD of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues found that the mortality rate for black infants fell from 14.3 to 11.6 per 1000 births between 2005 to 2012, then plateaued, and then increased -- from 11.4 to 11.7 per 1000 births between 2014 to 2015. 

At the same time, the mortality rate among white infants declined from 5.7 to 4.8 per 1000 births between 2005 to 2015, according to the findings. Between 2005 and 2011, deaths from premature birth/low birth weight fell for black infants, but then plateaued in recent years.

For the other leading causes of death -- birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and maternal complications -- rates among black and white infants declined overall between 2005 to 2015. However, mortality rates from both SIDS and birth defects began to rise again for black infants from 2014 to 2015.

No single cause of death appears solely responsible for the recent increase in the mortality rate among black infants, Riddell's group said.

References

Riddell C, Harper S and Kaufman J. "Trends in Differences in US Mortality Rates Between Black and White Infants." JAMA Pediatrics. 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1365 [Epub ahead of print]

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