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October 1, 1982

Fetal and Infant Mortality

JAMA. 1982;248(13):1578-1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330130026012

To the Editor.—  In their recent article in The Journal (1982;247:987), Drs Erickson and Bjerkedal report that the contrast in infant mortality between Norway and the United States (in 1977, 9.2 per 1,000 live births v 14.1) relates largely to differences in birth weight distribution. The US infant mortality in "other races" (mainly black) was 21.7 compared with 12.3 in whites. Another more extreme international comparison is between Bermuda and the District of Columbia. Infant mortality in 1980 was 13.9 in Bermuda1 and 24.6 in the District of Columbia. Ostensibly, the racial distribution is similar in the two areas: 61% black in Bermuda, 69% in the District of Columbia. However, social indicators contrast. Unemployment is virtually absent in Bermuda but high in nonwhites in the District of Columbia. Welfare requirements are low in Bermuda compared with those in the District of Columbia. Comparison of intermediary factors such as prematurity,