A Johns Hopkins University study, meant to push for greater federal funding for programs like the Children’ Health Insurance Program and Food Stamps, offers disturbing statistics regarding child mortality in the U.S. compared to the rest of the developed world.
In a report published earlier this week, university researchers studied child mortality rates for the U.S. and 19 “economically similar” member countries of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation over a 50-year period beginning in 1961. Since the 1980s, the U.S. mortality rate has been the worst among the 20 countries reviewed.
While rates have improved, the improvement in the U.S. has lagged far behind those of other developed countries, in spite of the enormous amount of money Americans pay for health care. The researchers concluded that over the 50-year period, there were 600,000 “excess deaths” in the U.S.
The leading causes of death in the most recent decade recorded, 2001-2010, were premature birth and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. U.S. infants, they concluded, are three times more likely to die than in the other economically similar countries.
Ashish Thakrar, an internal medicine resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and a lead author of the study, said:
"Overall child mortality in wealthy countries, including the U.S., is improving, but the progress our country has made is considerably slower than progress elsewhere."
The report found that for American youth between the ages of 15 and 19, they are twice as likely to die in a car accident, and 82 times more likely to die from gun violence.
Infants and youth between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 90 percent of childhood deaths in the U.S. The study found infants are 76 percent more likely to die than their counterparts in peer nations, while children ages 1 to 19 were 57 percent more likely during the most recent decade recorded.