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Pregnancy and infant health: progress toward the 1990 objectives.
  • Published Date:
    1984 Mar-Apr
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 99(2):184-192
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-2.02 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
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  • Description:
    Assuring all infants a healthy start in life and enhancing the health of their mothers are goals of the Public Health Service's health promotion and disease prevention initiative. The 13 priority objectives selected for the pregnancy and infant health area of the initiative focus on lowering infant, neonatal, and perinatal mortality rates, reducing the number of low-birth-weight infants, improving the health care of pregnant women and infants through regionalized perinatal care systems and comprehensive primary care services, encouraging early prenatal care and healthy lifestyles in pregnancy, and targeting the factors and populations associated with health risk. Although considerable progress has been made in this century in lowering the infant mortality rate, infants continue to die at a higher rate than members of any other age category under 60 years, and black infants die at almost twice the rate of white infants. To lower these high mortality rates, the private, public, and voluntary sectors have cooperated in new approaches to perinatal and infant health that have already produced some encouraging results. Recent data, for example, indicate that the priority objective of universal screening of newborns for treatable metabolic disorders has already been achieved and that the target for neonatal and infant mortality rates could be reached earlier than 1990. Substantial challenges, however, lie ahead if the current racial and ethnic differentials evident in the rates for prenatal care registration, low-birth-weight babies, and maternal and infant mortality are to be eliminated.

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