2005 N.C. Infant Mortality Rates Released:
Minority Infant Death Rate Decreases
North Carolina’s 2005 minority infant death rate
4.5 percent from the previous
year, according to information recently released
by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
While the rate is an improvement, minority babies
are still dying at more than twice the rate of
What are the 2005 statistics?
123,040 babies were born in North Carolina in 2005
and 1,077 babies died. The statewide infant mortality
rate was 8.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, the same
as in 2004. The data shows that minority infant mortality
decreased from 15.6 deaths per 1,000 live births
to 14.9 deaths.
Why are minority babies dying?
The data shows the top three causes of infant
mortality among all racial and ethnic groups are: Prematurity
and low birthweight (20 percent), birth defects (17
percent) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (10 percent).
Preterm and low birthweight rates were much
higher among minorities than whites.
One contributing factor may be discrimination. Increasingly,
researchers are finding a link between African American
women’s exposure to racial discrimination and
stress during their lifetime and having very low birthweight
babies (Collins et al.). In addition, the "survival
advantage" previously held by low birthweight
African American babies (lower rates of death in the
first 28 days of life) has also decreased over the
years, contributing, in part, to an increasing racial
Combating Infant Mortality is Everyone’s
Responsibility: You Can Help
Raising awareness about all of the leading
risk factors is instrumental in saving babies'
lives. Culturally appropriate literature and other
resources can help. Whether it’s a brochure
about the importance of folic acid before pregnancy
or a booklet about getting prenatal care, raising
awareness can increase knowledge and impact behavior
Business and industry leaders
- Offer on-site prenatal care or flexible work schedules
so women can regularly attend doctor visits
- Educate employees about company health benefits,
as well as eligibility for federal or state health
- Support organizations that focus on improving women's
Churches and places of worship
- Organize health fairs, focusing on women, new mothers
and infants, in collaboration with the local health
- Coordinate and provide transportation for women
going to the doctor
- Distribute educational materials promoting healthy
- Donate maternity, infant and children’s clothing
to new parents
- Provide support to pregnant women or new parents
- Model positive health practices and lifestyles
here for information on North Carolina’s
2005 infant mortality rates.
Click here for
information about things to do before, during and after
pregnancy to increase the chances of having a healthy
here to order free educational materials.
Collins J, David R, Handler A, Wall S, and Andes S.
Very Low Bithweight in African American Infants: The
Role of Maternal Exposure to Interpersonal Racial Discrimination. American
Journal of Public Health. 2004; 94; 2132-2138.
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