Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New York City's infant mortality rate declined in 2006

Poverty, race, and mother's health before pregnancy all affect infant survival

New York City’s infant mortality rate – widely regarded as a barometer of a population’s general health – fell slightly in 2006, the Health Department reported today. The rate in 2006 was 5.9 infant deaths for every 1,000 births, down from 6.0 the previous year. The City has made major progress in reducing infant deaths since the early 1990s, when the rate was double what it is today, but the decline has leveled off in recent years. The Health Department also reported that in poorer sectors of the city, infant mortality rates are still double the citywide rate.

In 2006, there were 740 infant deaths (defined as deaths of infants less than a year old) out of 125,506 New York City births. The city’s infant mortality rate is still lower than the national rate, which was 6.8 per 1,000 births in 2004, the most recent year on record. The leading causes of infant death both in New York City and nationally are birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight.

“We are making progress, but not enough, and not everywhere,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Health Commissioner for New York City. “There is no single solution to high rates of infant death we see in poor neighborhoods. We need targeted efforts to improve the health of women and children, but we also need to reduce poverty and improve women’s access to health care, healthy food, smoke-free environments, and opportunities for physical activity before, during, and after pregnancy.”

A woman’s health before she becomes pregnant is critically important. Infant illness and death is more common in babies whose mothers smoke, use alcohol or drugs, or are obese, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure before they become pregnant. New data from the New York City Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System suggest that all of these risk factors are common among NYC women. Among those who gave birth in 2004 and 2005:

About 40% were overweight or obese before they became pregnant.

One in eight women reported smoking during the three months before pregnancy; only half of these women stopped smoking while pregnant. According to a separate survey, 16% of New York City women aged 18 – 44 smoke. Many women may smoke or use alcohol during the first trimester of pregnancy, before they know they are pregnant but during the most critical time for fetal development.

Nearly 8% reported having high blood pressure before or during pregnancy.

About one in 40 (2.4%) had diabetes before becoming pregnant, and one in 10 developed diabetes during pregnancy – a condition known as gestational diabetes.

Disparities in Infant Mortality

In 2006, the infant mortality rates for black and Puerto Rican New Yorkers were more than double those for whites and Asians – a pattern that has persisted for more than a decade. The race gap persists even when poverty is taken out of the equation. Infants born to higher-income black women died at nearly three times the rate of those born to higher-income white women. While the reasons are not well understood, some experts believe the stress of experiencing of racial discrimination may affect the health of black women.

Infant mortality also varies greatly from one part of the city to another, with low-income areas suffering the highest rates. The highest rate was in the Bronx (7.1 deaths for every 1,000 births). Brooklyn’s rate was on par with the city average, while Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island fared better than the city as a whole. Over the past three years, Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, along with eastern Jamaica in Queens, have had higher infant death rates than any other neighborhood. A complete list of rates by neighborhood is available online at

Infants who are multiples (twins, triplets, etc.) die at five times the rate of single infants because they are often born preterm. Multiples accounted for 3.8% of New York City births in 2006, up from 3.0% a decade earlier – reflecting a rise in maternal age and an increase in the use of fertility treatments.

Driving Down the Infant Mortality Rate

While working to improve everyone’s access to healthy food and physical activity, the Health Department is also taking direct steps to reduce infant mortality and address its disparate impact:

Expanding the Nurse-Family Partnership, with the aim of serving more than 2,000 families by July 2008. NFP is a nurse home-visiting program for low-income, first-time mothers. Nurses interact regularly with women from the time they are pregnant through their child’s second birthday to help them take the steps needed to keep themselves and their babies healthy.

Offering a single home visit to all families with new babies in parts of Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Through this Newborn Home Visiting Program, Health Department workers assess the safety of the home environment, educate new parents about breastfeeding and safe sleep, and help families access medical care and social services.

Promoting breastfeeding through the Breastfeeding Initiative. Most recently, the Health Department and the Health and Hospitals Corporation launched a comprehensive breastfeeding-promotion program to encourage breastfeeding and eliminate formula giveaways in public hospitals.

Providing portable cribs and safe-sleep education through the New York City Safe Sleep Initiative.

Working with 40 community-based organizations, with funding from the City Council, to reduce infant mortality through health education workshops, outreach, referral services, case management, peer education and other activities.

What Women Can Do To Stay Healthy and Have a Healthy Baby

Plan your pregnancy. Unplanned pregnancies are more likely to result low birth weight, infant death, and poor development.

Have a regular doctor or health care provider to help you stay healthy.

If you smoke or use alcohol or drugs, get help to stop.

Maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet.

Keep chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure under control.

Get help if you are depressed, overly stressed, or abused.

Take folic acid, which helps prevent serious birth defects.

Breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of acquiring infectious diseases that put a new baby at risk of death. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of SIDS.

Sara Markt | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>