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US ranks 29th in infant mortalities

Infant mortalities in the US is on the decline (or at least it used to). In 1900, infant mortality rate was 100 deaths per 1000 live births. A hundred years after, in 2000, the rate was 6.86 per 1000 live births. However, this decline seems to have leveled off and the rate in 2005 is 6.89. This is according to a 2007 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on these figures, the US was 29th in infant mortality world ranking.

The CDC further reports that the reason why infant mortality rates did not improve during the last years is the increase in premature births, estimated at 9%. Although medical developments have enabled more and more preemies to survive – even as early as the 22nd week of gestation – the rate of deaths among preemies is still higher compared to babies born full term. Infants born even just a few weeks early can have three times mortality rates than those for full-term infants

Premature births are related to the rise in multiple pregnancies that usually end up in pre-term delivery and low birth weights. However, maternal factors such as advanced age, obesity, diabetes and hypertension also contribute to the rise in premature births.

This ranking of the US is seemingly low compared to other developed countries, according a report in the LA Times.

The Scandinavian countries Sweden, Norway, Finland, as well as Asian countries Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are ranked top, with mortality rates below 3.2 per 1000 live births. The reason for these low mortality rates according to experts, are the homogeneous populations in this country and the type of health care system. According to a researcher at the Center for Studying Health System Change, the US health care system is great in treating ill people with high-tech interventions. However, it is lacking in preventive care.


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