Tuesday, September 29, 2009

America's infant mortality rates illustrate we have a problem

One ugly truth is that infant mortality in the U.S. is higher than in many other countries. Many Americans believe ours is the best country on Earth and don’t like facts that contradict this.

A recent letter to the editor of my local newspaper proposed that anyone stating this truth name the sources and have a computer to back it up. This is silly. Since when must we drag a computer into a meeting when we state a truth?

This morning, I googled “infant mortality.” Here are is what I found in the first five hits.

According to the 2006 United Nations World Population Prospects report, our country ranks 33rd in infant mortality, with a rate of 6.3 deaths per 1000 live births. Outranking us are most European countries, Cuba, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Brunei, Cyprus, Israel, and New Caledonia.

According to the CIA’s World Fact Book, last updated in April, the U.S. has 6.26 infant deaths per 1000 live births. Our own government ranks us 46th.

Information Please ranks the U.S .45th. Nationmaster doesn’t list the U.S. at all. Indexmundi ranks us 41st.

The CIA World Fact Book also lists the U.S. as 50th in life expectancy at birth.

Before we can fix a problem, we must recognize we have one. Our health care policies and practices are not working for all of us. Some of us are healthy. Most of us, sadly, are overweight, and a huge percentage of us are clinically obese. And that is only true if we survive infancy, which is harder to do in the U.S. than in dozens of other nations.

Yes, we have a problem. Now let's figure out what we can do to fix it.

Peace, y'all


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