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September 24, 1982

Infant Mortality-Reply

Author Affiliations

Columbia University School of Medicine New York

JAMA. 1982;248(12):1451. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330120021018

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In Reply.—  Variation in the extent to which live infants of very low birth weight are recorded accounts for only a small proportion of international differences in neonatal mortality. Where these infants are not recorded as live births, they are generally recorded as stillbirths, and as both Norway and Sweden have lower stillbirth rates than the United States, this particular classification problem cannot explain the Scandinavian advantage in perinatal mortality. The birth weight distribution for white persons in the United States is, moreover, more unfavorable than that of Sweden and Norway, even if infants weighing less than 1,000 g are not considered. International comparisons of infant mortality will not go away if we ignore them. What is necessary is that these rates be interpreted sensibly.