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Health Officials Seek To Cut Infant Mortality Rates Among African Americans

Source: Center for Health Statistics. Ohio Department of Health. 2006-2013 Montgomery County, Ohio Death Certificate Data infant mortality african american white babies pregnancy premature preemie low birth weight
Source: Center for Health Statistics. Ohio Department of Health. 2006-2013 Montgomery County, Ohio Death Certificate Data
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http://ephtp.phdmc.org/page/display_map

Death-certificate data analyzed by Montgomery County epidemiologists show African Americans experience significantly higher rates of infant mortality than whites, regardless of income and education levels.

The public is invited to learn more about the risk factors for infant mortality Wednesday at a free community health forum, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on the Central State University Dayton Campus. 

According to Montgomery County data, African-American mothers lose babies to infant mortality more than three times as often as white mothers. Officials say premature birth and low birth weight have been identified as major causes among African Americans. 

Cheryl Scroggins from the Dayton Council on Health Equity says chronic stress over a woman's lifetime, even before she is pregnant, has been found to play a major role in birth outcomes.

“The data show that African-American females with a college degree, doctors, lawyers, academicians, who are doing well in their industry or career have a higher infant mortality rate than the white female who doesn’t even have a high school diploma, and so what this speaks to is the environment,” she says.

Scroggins says inequality and the health of families' neighborhoods can have a big impact on the health of mothers and babies.

“Social conditions such as poverty, housing, education and community development shape people’s choices and behaviors, and contribute to disease and mortality,” she says.

Scroggins says more education, and efforts to reduce stigma, are needed to help reduce the number of babies lost to infant mortality.

See the full calendar of events on the Public Health Department website at www.phdmc.org.