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May 31, 1971

Infant Death Rates

Author Affiliations

Ann Arbor, Mich

JAMA. 1971;216(9):1481-1482. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180350057020

To the Editor. —  During the past few years a series of articles was published which intended to counter the indictment that the United States has an unacceptably high infant mortality. The arguments raised have included a mixture of contradiction and paranoia. At times the basic data from abroad have been rejected as untrue or invalid. At other times it has been noted that European countries do not have the same problem of communication, distances, diverse populations, and multiple social issues which beset the United States. The first argument denies that the problem exists, while the second makes excuses for it!An editorial in The Journal (215:1318, 1971) suggested that infant mortality is a poor indicator of the health of a nation. The article noted that infant deaths represented only 2.2% of mortality in the United States, while 70% of deaths were due to heart disease, cancer, or stroke.