Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Interesting Fact

The US spends more than any other nation on healthcare and yet we rank 42nd in infant mortality.
*** I plan to comment further, but I'm crunched for time at the moment. Check back late tonight or early tomorrow for an update.***
Update: Really I don’t have much to add. I won’t even pretend to be smart enough to fashion a guess as to why this is. Go HERE to see the complete list.

The US infant mortality rate is 6.50 deaths/1,000 live births.

Cuba has a smaller IMR than we do. A real head scratcher.

Singapore has the best at 2.29, which leads me to believe that a small IMR may have something to do with not spitting or chewing gum, or even, perhaps, the usage of caning as punishment.

Why IMR is important according to Wikipedia:

The infant mortality rate correlates very strongly with and is among the best predictors of state failure.[1] IMR is also a useful indicator of a country's level of health or development, and is a component of the physical quality of life index .


Kyle said...


That is a real head-scratcher. I'll ask around.

Jenn said...


No need to fashion a guess--I'll just tell you why the US ranks where it does in IMR. It has to do with a few things. The first is access to health care. The US as a whole spends a ton of money on health care, but access is not equal. There are great disparities in access to care (and consequently the IMR rate) among races/ethnicities. In 2000, the IMR for African-Americans was more than twice the national average. In the US, infant mortality is most often caused by complications arising from premature birth and low birth weight (as opposed to infectious disease). Both are the result of lack of prenatal care, as well as drug, alcohol, and tobacco use (all of which are correlated with low socioeconomic status).

Another factor: most of the countries ahead of us on the list have fairly homogenous populations (please correct me if I'm wrong), as well as many having socialized health care.

The "good" news is that we aren't losing 18% of our babies like Angola. Public health workers are trying to eliminate the disparities in our country. The goal is to eliminate them by 2010. Check out the CDC's website on IMR for more info (http://www.cdc.gov/omh/AMH/factsheets/infant.htm).

Hopefully that cleared things up for you!

Kelsey said...

Holy Cow! Jenn that's some answer. Thanks for giving Touron Talk an air of academia.

I take it that this must be your field of study?

The radio show that I heard this discussed was about the amount of chemicals that we (US citizens) consume in our foods and medicines. I thought that this was a stretch bringing up the IMR. Your reasons make much more sense to me. But hey, the guy was trying to sell a book and anything is fair game, including telling people their babies will die if they eat at McD's, I guess. One good argument that he did make for his ground breaking chemicals-are-bad theory was that girls are having their first period sooner. He said that some girls start as early as eight. 30 years ago when we weren't consuming so many chemicals this would have been very rare but now Doctors write it off as "normal."

Anyhow, back to the IMR...

To me, lowering the IMR should not be our primary goal. No, I'm not pro-dying babies, but I am anti-overpopulation. Our focus should be on reducing births. By doing this correctly, I'm guessing, the IMR would decrease.

Anyhow, I'll stop now before I make up anything else or get in a how-to-not-have-babies discussion.