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J Pediatr. 1986 Feb;108(2):209-14.

Effects of birth weight and ethnicity on incidence of sudden infant death syndrome.


Sudden infant death syndrome occurs with increased frequency in low birth weight infants and in black infants. The degree to which the higher LBW rate among blacks might explain this higher SIDS rate is unknown. To address this question, we analyzed the 1233 SIDS deaths that occurred among 252,376 neonatal survivors in Cook County from 1975 to 1980, using computer-coded matched infant birth and death records. Birth weight and ethnic group were identified. The overall SIDS rates in blacks, Hispanics, and whites were 5.1, 1.2, and 1.3/1000 neonatal survivors, respectively. Within each ethnic group, the SIDS rates increased progressively with decreasing birth weight. Within the less than or equal to 1500 gm birth weight groups, the SIDS rates were 16.4, 3.9, and 5.5/1000 neonatal survivors in blacks, Hispanics, and whites. Using direct standardization, we found that 27% of the SIDS rate disparity between blacks and whites could be explained by the higher LBW rate in blacks (14% vs 6% in whites). The good outcomes in both LBW and SIDS rates for the Hispanic population were unexpected because, like blacks, Hispanics are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Findings for this group suggest that the remaining 73% of the increased SIDS rate in blacks cannot be attributed in a straightforward manner to differences in income or educational attainment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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