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U.S. Infant Deaths on the Decline
Date:4/30/2010

But the U.S. still fares worse than many other countries, CDC experts say ,,

FRIDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- In 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, about seven infants died for every 1,000 born in the United States, a 3 percent drop from 2005 and the lowest infant death rate since 1995, U.S health officials announced Friday.

Although the drop in infant mortality was significant, the United States still ranks near the bottom of 32 other industrialized countries when it comes to infant deaths, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

"Clearly the decline from 2005 to 2006 is significant and is good news," said lead report author T.J. Mathews, a demographer, at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

"An infant mortality rate at that level is still too high," he added. "Even at this rate, our ranking in the world will probably remain 28th."

In 2006, the infant mortality rate was 6.68 deaths per 1,000 births -- a 3 percent drop from the 6.86 level seen in 2005. In 1995 the infant mortality rate was 7.57 deaths per 1,000 births, Mathews said.

However, "a point that is just critical in the U.S. are the huge disparities that affect mortality in this country," he added.

For example, race and ethnicity mattered. The NCHS said the infant death rate ranged from a low of 4.52 per 1,000 births for mothers of Central and South American descent, to a high of 13.35 deaths per 1,000 for babies born to black mothers.

Among white women the infant mortality rate was 5.73 deaths per 1,000 births.

The mortality rates were higher for women who were born in the United States, were unmarried or who had multiple deliveries, according to the report. Infant deaths were also higher for boys and preterm and low birth weight infants.

In 2006, the death rate among neonates re
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