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J Pediatr. 1997 Sep;131(3):430-3.

Human development index as a predictor of infant and maternal mortality rates.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite index of life expectancy, literacy, and per capita gross domestic product that measures the socioeconomic development of a country. We estimated infant and maternal mortality rates in the world and assessed how well the HDI and its individual components predicted infant and maternal mortality rates for individual countries.

MATERIALS:

Data on mortality rates and values for HDI components were obtained from the United Nations and the World Bank.

RESULTS:

For the 1987 to 1990 period, approximately 9 million infant deaths and 349,000 maternal deaths occurred in the world annually, yielding global infant and maternal mortality rates of 67 per 1000 and 250 per 100,000 live births, respectively. HDI is a powerful predictor of both infant and maternal mortality rates. It accounts for 85% to 92% of the variation in infant mortality rates, and 82% to 85% of the variation in maternal mortality rates among countries. Each component of HDI is also strongly correlated with both infant and maternal mortality rates (significance of all values for r, p < 0.001), and eliminating life expectancy from HDI does not decrease significantly the predictive power of HDI for infant or maternal mortality rates.

CONCLUSION:

HDI is not only a useful measure for socioeconomic development, but also a powerful predictor of infant and maternal mortality rates for individual countries.

PMID:
9329421
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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