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New York City's infant mortality rate declined in 2006
Date:10/3/2007

New York Citys infant mortality rate widely regarded as a barometer of a populations general health fell slightly in 2006, the Health Department reported today. The rate in 2006 was 5.9 infant deaths for every 1,000 births, down from 6.0 the previous year. The City has made major progress in reducing infant deaths since the early 1990s, when the rate was double what it is today, but the decline has leveled off in recent years. The Health Department also reported that in poorer sectors of the city, infant mortality rates are still double the citywide rate.

In 2006, there were 740 infant deaths (defined as deaths of infants less than a year old) out of 125,506 New York City births. The citys infant mortality rate is still lower than the national rate, which was 6.8 per 1,000 births in 2004, the most recent year on record. The leading causes of infant death both in New York City and nationally are birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight.

We are making progress, but not enough, and not everywhere, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Health Commissioner for New York City. There is no single solution to high rates of infant death we see in poor neighborhoods. We need targeted efforts to improve the health of women and children, but we also need to reduce poverty and improve womens access to health care, healthy food, smoke-free environments, and opportunities for physical activity before, during, and after pregnancy.

A womans health before she becomes pregnant is critically important. Infant illness and death is more common in babies whose mothers smoke, use alcohol or drugs, or are obese, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure before they become pregnant. New data from the New York City Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System suggest that all of these risk factors are common among NYC women. Among those who gave birth in 2004 and 2005:

  • About 40% were overweight or obese before they became pregnant.
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Contact: Sara Markt
smarkt@health.nyc.gov
212-788-5290
New York City Health Department
Source:Eurekalert

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