Florida Officials Discuss Black Infant Mortality Rate
Florida health officials on Wednesday marked National Minority Health Month by discussing the infant mortality among blacks, the Fort Meyers News-Press reports.
According to the Florida Department of Health, black infants are 2.5 times more likely to die before their first birthdays than whites. The department also has found that blacks represent 38% of the 1,700 infants who die before reaching age one.
Bill Sappenfield, state maternal and child health epidemiologist, said good health habits during pregnancy are not necessarily enough to reverse risk factors that accumulate in the years before a woman becomes pregnant.
Emile Commedore, director of the Florida Office of Minority Health, said minorities -- especially black women -- are less likely than whites to plan their pregnancies and have regular access to health care. According to Commedore, black women also are more likely to have serious medical conditions, morbid obesity and diabetes when they become pregnant (Ash, Fort Meyers News-Press, 4/9). He added, "A lot of these women live in rural areas and there's no transportation that they can use" to access adequate health care.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, experts and advocates said more outreach, education and family planning for black women is needed (Ash, Tallahassee Democrat, 4/9).