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In the January Health Affairs: US child mortality rates worse than in other OECD nations

Health Affairs


IMAGE: Child mortality in the US and the OECD19, by age group, 1960-2010. view more 

Credit: Health Affairs

The January issue of Health Affairs includes a study by Ashish Thakrar of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and coauthors. The United States has poorer child health outcomes than other industrialized nations despite greater per capita spending. The authors compare child mortality rates in the US and the nineteen other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) during 1961-2010, looking at data for children up to the age of 19. They found that over the fifty-year period, childhood mortality progressively declined in all the OECD countries. However, by the first decade of the 21st century, US infants had a 76 percent increased risk of death, and children ages 1-19 were 57 percent more likely to die before adulthood (see exhibit below). According to the authors, perinatal conditions and injuries account for much of the elevated death rates in the US--conditions that they note can best be addressed through multi-sector approaches that reach beyond a country's health care system.


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