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N.C. infant mortality rate hits record low

Posted September 17, 2010

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— North Carolina’s infant mortality rate dropped in 2009 to the lowest level since records have been kept, public health officials said Friday.

The overall infant mortality rate was 7.9 deaths per 1,000 live births last year, compared with 8.2 percent in 2008. The previous low was 8.1 percent in 2006.

Still, officials said, the infant mortality rate among minorities rose last year after reaching a record low in 2008. Minority infants continue to die at 2.6 times the rate of white children, and minority women experience markedly higher rates of low and very low birth weight babies.

“Racial health disparities, especially among women of child-bearing age, must continue to be one of our top priorities,” State Health Director Jeff Engel said in a statement. “That means continued investment at the state and federal levels in preventing high-risk conditions like diabetes and hypertension, as well as ensuring access to good pre-conception, prenatal and infant care.”

Deaths attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome decreased from 136 deaths in children under age 1 in 2008 to 98 in 2009, according to an annual state report. Deaths from accidental suffocation also decreased from 21 in 2008 to seven in 2009.

“While we can’t explain the unusually high number of SIDS-related deaths last year, it is good to see a return to the downward trend we had been on since 1995,” Tom Vitaglione, co-chairman of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, said in a statement. “Our state is fortunate to have a dedicated Child Fatality Prevention System that reviews all child deaths and studies ways to prevent them through focused programs.”

The annual report also shows that smoking rates continue to decline among pregnant women, and teenagers under 18 who gave birth accounted for 3.5 percent of all live births, down from 3.8 percent in 2008. The number of women receiving prenatal care early in their pregnancies rose slightly, from 82 percent in 2008 to 83.3 percent.

The number of babies being born in North Carolina is down more than 3 percent overall, from a record high of 130,886 in 2007 to 126,785 births in 2009.

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  • sunflower1276 Sep 17, 2010

    no, parents or others that parents leave their children with, kill the children once they are between toddlers or 13 yrs old. how sick is that- which is just plain SICK.

  • Pseudonym Sep 17, 2010

    Oh, stw*tson, get a grip!

    And get a new screenname, since WRAL's censors don't like yours!

  • stwatson Sep 17, 2010

    Lol...I am by no means saying I WANT to see babies die! That is awful!

    I think people need to start considering having fewer children and being more aware that in 30 years this planet will be unable to feed that number of people...however I dont see people changing their stubborn minds any time soon.

    People need to be aware that with the advances in modern medicine, having lower mortality rates are only speeding up the process of uncontrollable and unsustainable population growth.

  • baracus Sep 17, 2010

    "just what we need...an improvement in our exponential population growth.

    IDK how much you people know about sustainability but our planet is in seriously trouble unless we curb this growth rate."

    Personally I would rather see that happen through reduced fertility than increased infant mortality, but prefer dead babies, then rock on!

  • 1 of the original Americans Sep 17, 2010

    except at fort bragg

  • Hater like Darth Vader Sep 17, 2010

    I bet the Discovery Channel gunman guy would be angry about this.

  • stwatson Sep 17, 2010

    just what we need...an improvement in our exponential population growth.

    IDK how much you people know about sustainability but our planet is in seriously trouble unless we curb this growth rate.

  • smcallah Sep 17, 2010

    Caveman93 - Do you not see in the article that it clearly says 7.9 deaths per 1000 births?

    That means that if there are 100,000 births in NC, then 790 die. If there are 10,000 births, then 79 die. If there are only 1000 births then 7.9, or more likely 8, die.

    It doesn't matter how many births there are, that doesn't affect the mortality rate.

  • wakeresident Sep 17, 2010

    Basic statistics are lost on most people. Caveman, the PERCENTAGE of death rates (or, as given in the article, deaths per 1,000) is unaffected by the total number of births. A smaller PERCENTAGE of babies died.

  • Caveman93 Sep 17, 2010

    The number of babies being born in North Carolina is down more than 3 percent overall, from a record high of 130,886 in 2007 to 126,785 births in 2009.

    Births down 10% from 2007.

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