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Infant mortality rates in U.S. among worst of developed nations

A recent opinion piece in CNN by a woman who works as an executive in the fields of maternal health and public health says that the U.S. needs to do more to prevent infant mortality. She says that it is terrible that the U.S. ranks behind the majority of developed countries in rates of infant mortality.

In the U.S., there are almost seven deaths of infants per 1,000 live births. According to the article, it is also the case that babies born to non-Hispanic black women are almost 2.5 times more likely to die than babies born to non-Hispanic white women.

The writer says that the government needs to do more to ensure that all women have all services necessary at four crucial times for an infant. This includes before pregnancy, during pregnancy, during birth and during the infant's first year of life.

Programs that have been shown as methods to reduce infant mortality include those that prevent teen pregnancy and offer necessary prenatal care, WIC nutrition programs, education programs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and cessation programs that help pregnant women quit smoking or stop using other substances.

The author writes that it should not be the case that whether a baby lives or dies depends on where it is born and where its mother lives. She suggests ways that she believes our country can improve in this regard.

Source: CNN, "Why is infant mortality still a U.S. problem?," Deborah Klein Walker, Nov. 2, 2011

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