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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Jul 12;51(27):589-92.

Infant mortality and low birth weight among black and white infants--United States, 1980-2000.


Despite substantial reductions in U.S. infant mortality during the past several decades, black-white disparities in infant mortality rates persist. One of the Healthy People 2010 national objectives for maternal and infant health is to reduce deaths among infants aged < 1 year to < or = 4.5 per 1,000 live births among all racial/ethnic groups (objective 16-1c). Important determinants of racial/ethnic differences in infant mortality are low birth weight (LBW), defined as < 2500 grams, and very low birth weight (VLBW), defined as < 1500 grams. High birth weight-specific mortality rates (BWSMRs) occur at these low birth weights. Healthy People 2010 goals include reducing LBW to 5% and VLBW to 0.9% of live births (objectives 16-10a and 16-10b, respectively). To assess progress toward meeting these national objectives, CDC analyzed birth and death certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics. This report describes trends in mortality and birth weight among black and white infants, which indicate persistent black-white disparities and underscore the need for prevention strategies that reduce preterm delivery and specific medical conditions that lead to infant death.

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