Infant mortality and education

    The children of Pennsylvania’s most-educated mothers have the best chance of surviving to their first birthday, according to new research linking social factors and health.

    The children of Pennsylvania’s most-educated mothers have the best chance of surviving to their first birthday, according to new research linking social factors and health. From WHYY’s Health and Science Desk, Taunya English reports on the new, national report from the University of California, San Francisco.

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    Researcher Susan Egerter says the study shows how income and education make a difference. The study found that children born to mothers who quit school before high school graduation are more likely to die in the first year of life.

    Egerter: These differences are particularly troubling because of the numbers of children that they affect. One-third of our nation’s children live in a household where no one has more than a high school education

    In Pennsylvania the overall infant death rate is nearly 7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Among mothers with 16 years of education or more, that rate is much lower, about 4 infant deaths in 1,000.
    The research team is looking for ways to narrow that health gap. Egerter says neighborhood changes and education are opportunities to improve health outside the traditional medical care system.

    Egerter: Regular doctors visits are, of course, important for growing children, but children also need the right physical and social conditions to help them be healthy kids

    The study was commissioned by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a major funder of health research and projects across the country.

    More information:

    The researchers have created a county-specific, online tool that calculates the number of deaths that could be averted if more people had a college education. Heres how it works: In Philadelphia County, if the percentage of adults with some college education rose from its current level to the U.S. average of 58 percent, the research shows that the county would avoid 531 deaths every year.

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