The Infant Mortality Rate For African Americans

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Literature review “Compared with European Americans, African American infants experience disproportionately high rates of low birth weight (LBW) and preterm delivery and are more than twice as likely to die during their 1st year of life”(Giscombé, C. L., & Lobel, M., 2005). The infant mortality rate for African Americans is 13.7 deaths per 1000 live births, more than twice the rate (5.7) for White Americans in the U.S. (Kung, Hoyert, Xu, & Murphy, 2008). A lot of the racial disparity in infant mortality can be explained by low birthweight and preterm delivery, which are also disproportionately and often experienced by African Americans (Martin et al., 2007). In addition to infant mortality, infant survivors of LBW and preterm delivery, often experience greater problems in childhood and adulthood. Some of these experiences include higher rates of respiratory illness, impaired growth, cognitive and emotional deficiencies, lower academic achievement and risk of hypertension, diabetes and mental health issues (Behrman and Butler, 2007, Conley and Bennett, 2000 and Raikkonen et al., 2007). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) report that African American pregnancies are at an elevated risk for poor birth outcomes. Figure 1. shows national birth outcomes for African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian pregnancies, as reported by the CDC in 2013:

Figure 1. Why do African Americans have a higher rate of infant mortality, low birth weights and preterm delivery? Evidence
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