New CDC study shows racial disparities in infant mortality

Improving access to healthcare for minority women of childbearing age could improve pregnancy outcomes and reduce racial differences in infant mortality, according to an article in Journal of Women’s Health.
Infant mortality rates for non-Hispanic blacks and other minorities are much higher than for non-Hispanic whites. Better preconception heathcare for women is a promising strategy for reducing racial disparities in reproductive health outcomes. This may include reducing behavioural risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and excessive drinking. It could also involve greater access to preventive care and preconception and reproductive counseling.
The article “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Preconception Risk Factors and Preconception Care” by Clark Denny, PhD and colleagues, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), estimated the prevalence of five risk factors for negative pregnancy outcomes in more than 54,600 women ages 18-44 years. They found that more than half of the women had at least one risk factor and nearly 20% of women had two or more risk factors.
An accompanying editorial, by Anne Dunlop, MD, MPH and Darcie Everett, MD, MPH, Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA), highlights changes in healthcare policy, financing, and delivery that will expand coverage, emphasise prevention, and improve access to preconception and reproductive healthcare for lower-income Americans.
“Clearly, there is a need for better preconception healthcare, particularly among high-risk groups, in order to improve pregnancy outcomes and reduce racial disparities,” says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women’s Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health.

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