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USA: Rise in infant deaths hits Black families hardest, study finds

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A new US study highlights a striking racial disparity in infant deaths: Black babies experienced the highest rate of sudden unexpected deaths (SIDS) in 2020, dying at almost three times the rate of White infants.

The findings were part of research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also found a 15% increase in sudden infant deaths among babies of all races from 2019 to 2020, making SIDS the third leading cause of infant death in the United States after congenital abnormalities and the complications of premature birth.

“In minority communities, the rates are going in the wrong direction,” said Scott Krugman, vice chair of the department of pediatrics and an expert on SIDS at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

The study found that rising SIDS rates in 2020 was likely attributable to diagnostic shifting — or reclassifying the cause of death. The causes of the rise in sleep-related deaths of Black infants remain unclear but it coincided with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately affected the health and wealth of Black communities.

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Source: The Washington Post, 13 March 2023

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