Non-White children in England face 12% higher mortality risk

Ethnicity, deprivation, and infant mortality in England.

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A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open, using data from Bristol’s National Child Mortality Database, reveals that non-White infants in England face higher mortality rates before their 18th birthday compared to White infants. This risk disparity persists regardless of the family’s wealth or location.

The analysis shows almost half of the heightened risk for non-White infants is linked to preterm birth, which is more prevalent in Asian or Black families. Urgent action is needed to address this issue and find ways to reduce preterm births in these communities.

Karen Luyt, Director of the National Child Mortality Database and Professor of Neonatal Medicine at the University of Bristol, said: “England has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Europe, and there is an urgent need to identify and tackle the factors holding us back.”

“This latest analysis of our unique dataset highlights specific groups at greater risk and indicates where efforts might be focused to drive down infant mortality in the future.”

The study highlights the importance of addressing unbalancing in child mortality rates among different ethnic groups in England. Urgent action is required to identify and mitigate the factors contributing to higher mortality rates among non-White children, mainly focusing on reducing the incidence of preterm births in affected communities.

Journal reference:

  1. David E. Odd, Sylvia Stoianova, et al., Race and Ethnicity, Deprivation, and Infant Mortality in England, 2019-2022. Journal of American Medical Association. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.55403.
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