Critical Health Issues: HSC 4634
Florida A&M University
Infant mortality is a significant measure of a country’s overall health status, because it encompasses a wide array of factors, such as maternal health, access to preventive care, socioeconomic status, and a nation’s public health initiatives. According to the World Health Organization in 2000 the United States was ranked 37th out of 191 countries in terms of overall health ("World health organization," 2000). In 2005, the United States ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality, behind most European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Israel (MacDorman & Mathews, 2010). These are some very shocking statistics being the United States spends the largest amount of its GDP on healthcare compared to any other developed country. The aforementioned statistics are also indicative to the fact that infant mortality plays a major role in determining whether a country’s public health initiatives are working. To examine the extent to which infant mortality has become a critical health issue we must first define what infant mortality is. Infant mortality is defined as the death of a child that is younger than 1 year. In 1990, the four leading causes of infant death were congenital anomalies, sudden infant death syndrome, disorders relating to short gestation and unspecified low birth weight, and respiratory distress syndrome ("Infant mortality," 1997). The infant mortality rate in 2005 in the United States was 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The issue of infant mortality is multifaceted there are many factors that lead to and contribute to the prevalence of it. Factors that can contribute to in rise in infant death cases are attributed to maternal characteristics such as: the age of the mother, education, marital status, socioeconomic status, access to care, the use of alcohol and...