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Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Jan;37(1):140-149. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0767.

Child Mortality In The US And 19 OECD Comparator Nations: A 50-Year Time-Trend Analysis.

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Ashish P. Thakrar ( ) is an internal medicine intern at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Alexandra D. Forrest is a medical student at the Drexel University College of Medicine, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mitchell G. Maltenfort is a biostatistician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania.
Christopher B. Forrest is a professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.


The United States has poorer child health outcomes than other wealthy nations despite greater per capita spending on health care for children. To better understand this phenomenon, we examined mortality trends for the US and nineteen comparator nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for children ages 0-19 from 1961 to 2010 using publicly available data. While child mortality progressively declined across all countries, mortality in the US has been higher than in peer nations since the 1980s. From 2001 to 2010 the risk of death in the US was 76 percent greater for infants and 57 percent greater for children ages 1-19. During this decade, children ages 15-19 were eighty-two times more likely to die from gun homicide in the US. Over the fifty-year study period, the lagging US performance amounted to over 600,000 excess deaths. Policy interventions should focus on infants and on children ages 15-19, the two age groups with the greatest disparities, by addressing perinatal causes of death, automobile accidents, and assaults by firearm.


Children’s Health; Demography; Developed World < International/global health studies; Epidemiology; Public Health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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