A Question of Color

Treatable ills cause the gaps in U.S. infant-mortality rates

A TRAGIC FACT OF LIFE IN THE U.S. IS THAT BLACK children under the age of one die at twice the rate of white infants. Much of the disparity in mortality can be traced to the large number of African-American babies who are born underweight, particularly those weighing less than 1,500 grams, or 3.3 lbs. As one might expect, figuring out why this occurs requires a closer look at maternal health. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, very nearly all the excess mortality is directly related to four common pregnancy problems. Infection or rupture of the...

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