My readers know that children's health is a major concern with me, as is teen pregnancy and maternal health. The following Comment, published in Journal Watch, raises major concerns about the increasing birth rates, increasing infant mortality, increasing teen pregnancy and increasing incidence of cesarean section for women. If these aren't your issues, now is the time to hit the delete key.
Comment: Annual Review of Pediatric and Adolescent Vital Statistics
The data reveal increasing rates of teen pregnancies, cesarean sections, and very-low-birth-weight infants as well as persistent disparities in life expectancy.
The annual summary of vital statistics provides a snapshot of child health in the U.S. Recently published, the review presents data through 2007. Highlights include the following:
- The birth rate in 2007 continued to rise, and the number
of live births reached 4.3 million, representing a 6% increase since
- The 2007 infant mortality rate (6.77/1000 live births) was
slightly higher than the 2006 rate (6.69/1000 live births) but lower
than the 2000 rate (6.89/1000 live births). The infant mortality rate in
the U.S. continues to rank at about the 25th highest in the world among
countries with populations of >2,500,000.
- Although the adolescent pregnancy rate declined 34% between
1991 and 2005, the rate increased from 40.5/1000 live births in 2005 to
42.5/1000 live births in 2007.
- From 1990 to 2007, the rate of low-birth-weight infants
continued to increase (from 7.0/1000 to 8.2/1000 live births), as did
rates of very-low-birth-weight infants (from 1.27 to 1.48/1000 live
births), premature infants, and very premature infants.
- The cesarean section rate reached another record high — 31.8%
of all births.
- The alarming rise in multiple births has finally stabilized.
The rate of twin births was similar in 2004 and 2005 (32/1000 births),
although this figure still represents a 70% increase since 1980. After a
400% increase in the 1980s and 1990s, higher-order births (triplets and
above) finally declined to 153/100,000 births in 2005, down 21% from a
record high of 193/100,000 births in 1988.
- The leading cause of death for children between ages 1 and 19
years is unintentional injuries (42%), followed by homicide (12%),
neoplasm (8%), and suicide (7%).
- Life expectancy at birth increased to 80.7 for white women, 77.0 years for black women, 75.8 years for white men, and 70.2 years for black men.
Source: Journal Watch: Annual Review of Pediatric and Adolescent Vital Statistics, published February 18, 2010 Subscription Required.