2009-08-12Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.1515/JPM.2010.014
Racial/ethnic disparities in infant mortality
Aims: This study examines predictors of neonatal and postneonatal mortality among infants born to black, white, and Hispanic women. Methods: Linked birth/infant death records from North Carolina for the period 1999–2007 were the source of data. Logistic regression models were constructed to estimate the effect of maternal and infant characteristics on neonatal (<28 days) and postneonatal (28–364 days) mortality. Results: Analyses revealed no racial/ethnic differences in neonatal mortality, but increased risk among black infants for postneonatal death. Inadequate prenatal care was associated with an increased risk for neonatal mortality across all three racial/ethnic groups. Younger maternal age and lower educational levels were associated with postneonatal deaths for black and white women, but not Hispanic. A previous child loss, being unmarried and labor/delivery complications increased the risk for postneonatal mortality only among white women. Black infants had higher rates of death attributed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), infections, low birth weight (LBW)/prematurity, respiratory conditions, and injuries. Conclusions: Early initiation of prenatal care, access to risk-appropriate obstetric and neonatal services, and participation in intervention programs that support parenting of LBW/preterm infants throughout the first year of life are likely to yield the greatest impact in reducing infant mortality.