California Public Health Department Marks Black Infant Health Week
The California Department of Public Health this week is observing "Black Infant Health Week" to focus on reducing the gap between black and white infant mortality rates, the Contra Costa Times reports. According to the Times, black infants in California are twice as likely as infants of any other race to die before age one.
In 2004, there were 13.6 deaths per 1,000 births among black infants nationally, compared with 5.7 deaths among white infants, 5.5 deaths among Hispanic infants and 4.5 deaths among Asian infants.
CDC has said that the gap is related to an increased risk of black infants being born with low or very low birthweights. In addition, access to care and lifestyle habits can influence infant mortality rates. In addition, socioeconomic factors and racism can play a role, according to CDC.
In California, state programs focus on boosting the quantity and quality of care that black women receive and supporting healthy lifestyles. For example, San Mateo County's maternal and child health program focuses on helping women overcome the effects of discrimination and financial hardship, program Director Anand Chabra said. The county's mortality rates for black infants declined by more than 50% from 1990 to 2004 (Bohan, Contra Costa Times, 2/20).