U.S. Infant Mortality Down, but Still Room for Improvement

(HealthDay News) – The infant mortality rate (IMR) in the United States has declined substantially in the last 50 years, but the burden still falls disproportionately on non-Hispanic black infants and those born in southern states, according to a report published in the Aug. 9 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Wanda Barfield, MD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues compiled an overview of IMR in the United States, its causes, and the efforts taken at local and state levels to reduce it.

The researchers identified a number of key risk factors, including prenatal smoking, preterm delivery, preterm-related death, and sudden infant death syndrome, that affect the IMR and could be addressed. Strategies that might reduce IMR include improving pre-pregnancy maternal health, coordinating health services, and promoting quality prenatal care, which are the aims of programs across the country.

“The goal of these programs and related collaborative efforts is to improve access to quality preconceptional, periconceptional, and prenatal health care across racial/ethnic and geographic divides, and to provide the best available care to mothers and infants,” the authors write.

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