Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Federal researchers announced this week that the American infant mortality rate, which is used as a way to judge our overall health, dropped in 2010, the last year it was measured. But the drop wasn’t as sharp as researchers had hoped, as NBC News reports:
Birth defects and low birth weight were the two leading causes of newborn death, the survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found. And babies born to teenage mothers were the most likely to weigh too little, the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.
They report that the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.14 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 2010, which is just 4 percent lower than the rate of 6.39 in 2009. This adds up to 24,572 babies who died at or around birth in 2010.
The United States may be one of the richest countries in the world, but has a very high rate of infant mortality compared to other wealthy countries — and compared even to some not-so-rich countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) consistently finds the U.S. near the bottom of its list of 34-member countries on this measure.
The U.S. infant mortality rate is well above the OECD average of four deaths per 1,000. In Iceland, just 1.6 babies out of every 1,000 die and in Sweden, Japan, and Finland, it’s around two per 100,000.
In January of this year, the Institute of Medicine had released data showing the U.S. infant mortality rate was more than double that of many other developed countries.
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Friday, January 11th, 2013
A new analysis by the Institute of Medicine of global health care costs and outcomes has revealed the troubling statistic that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is more than double the rates in Japan, Sweden, and some other developed countries. America lags behind 16 other countries, despite the fact that infant mortality rates have been steadily dropping over the last decade. From The Washington Post:
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“Although U.S. infant mortality declined by 20 percent between 1990 and 2010,” the report notes, “other high-income countries experienced much steeper declines and halved their infant mortality rates over those two decades.”
As to what explains the high infant mortality rate, the researchers aren’t quite sure. They say it is not explained by ethnic diversity in the United States. While U.S. minorities do tend to have a higher infant mortality rate, non-Hispanic whites in the United States also have worse outcomes than those in peer nations.
Image: Earth, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
How foods are marketed to children is among the top 5 areas of concern among 800 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on how to fight the growing American obesity epidemic.
The IOM is using the term “leanwashing” to describe ways in which food companies market foods in ways that are misleading about their nutritional content. Labeling cookies, breakfast cereals, or drinks as “nutrient-rich,” for example, is frowned upon by the recommendations because it suggests that a nutrient-fortified cookie is a “healthy” snack.
Bruce Bradley, a former food marketing insider, teamed up with the IOM and a number of medical professionals to create the “Leanwashing Index” to help parents make smart food choices for their families. From an IOM statement:
Says Bradley, who has worked for Nabisco, Pillsbury and General Mills, “It’s no secret advertisers are not going to look out for consumer’s health. It’s time for consumers to take control and go beyond what they see on TV or on the front of the package.”
“With pizza considered a vegetable for school lunches, and the voluntary guidelines for food marketing to children stalled out in Washington, we know consumers need something now to help them scrutinize some of the bogus ‘health’ claims that abound in food and product advertising.” said EnviroMedia co-founder and CEO Davis.
Image: Package of cookies, via Shutterstock
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