U.S. infant mortality rates decline, Michigan still has room for improvement

LANSING – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) News Brief demonstrating a significant decline in the nation’s infant mortality rate by 12 percent from 2005 to 2011. Michigan is among several states with higher than average infant mortality rates that experienced a significant drop.

“The recent decline in infant mortality is a public health success story that deserves recognition,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). “However, while we are seeing improvement, much work remains to be done in Michigan to help more babies celebrate their first birthday and we are committed to seeing that work through.”

According to 2010 data, Michigan’s infant mortality rate is higher than the national rate. The state rate is 7.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, while nationally the infant mortality rate is 6.15. Also using 2010 data, among Michigan’s African American population, the infant death rate is 14.2 out of every 1,000 babies born and 11.88 out of every 1,000 babies born among Michigan’s American Indian population.

According to the report, the U.S. infant death rate dropped the most among black non-Hispanic women by 16 percent and Hispanic women at a rate of 9 percent. Recently, Michigan has similarly shown some small progress in the African American/Caucasian infant mortality rate disparity. The state showed the ratio declined 2.8 to 2.6 when comparing 2009 to 2010, the latest period of complete data.

To address infant mortality and the large disparities that exist in our state, the MDCH released the Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan in August 2012. The state plan outlines eight strategies aimed at ensuring more Michigan babies survive. The strategic priorities include adopting policies and promoting practices that will address social, emotional and environmental factors that affect health and the outcome of pregnancies known as the “social determinants of health.” The plan includes examining and addressing the racial and ethnic disparities among Michigan’s infants especially among the African American and American Indian populations.

For more information about infant mortality in Michigan, as well as to download a copy of the Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/mdch. To see the CDC NCHS News Brief and recent data, visit www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefsb120.htm.

About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at JenBucciarelli@gmail.com.

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