Patterns of infant and early childhood mortality in the California Project of a collaborative Inter-American Study
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The California Project of the Inter-American Investigation of Mortality in Childhood was carried out in San Francisco and three surrounding counties in 1969 and 1970. The study found infant death rates of 18.5 per 1,000 live births in San Francisco and 17.2 per 1,000 live births in the three counties. Mortality in the neonatal period (the first 28 days of life) accounted for two-thirds of these deaths. Low birth-weitht played a key role in neonatal mortality, one that was particularly marked during the first day of life. Overall, the study found that 77.7 per cent of the neonatal fatalities and 85.6 percent of those dying in the first day of life weighed 2,500 grams or less at birth. Mortality was also very high among infants of mothers under 20 and over 34 years of age., the risks being especially great in the case of young mothers. Moreover, the vast majority of babies that were born to young mothers and died the first day had very low birth-weights. It is therefore concluded that young mothers ran a relatively high risk of having low birth weight babies prone to dying in the first day of life. This demonstrates a clear need for special measures capable of reducing the health risk faced by both young mothers and their children. Besides providing a more detailed explanation of these points, the authors recommend various specific measures that should be taken and present data obtained by the California Project on other aspects of mortality among infants and preschool children 1-4 years of age (Au)
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