Overview of the National Infant Mortality Surveillance (NIMS) project--design, methods, results.
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Overview of the National Infant Mortality Surveillance (NIMS) project--design, methods, results.

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      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      The recent slowdown in the decline of infant mortality in the United States and the continued high risk of death among black infants (twice that of white infants) prompted a consortium of Public Health Service agencies to collaborate with all States in the development of a national data base from linked birth and infant death certificates. This National Infant Mortality Surveillance (NIMS) project for the 1980 U.S. birth cohort provides neonatal, postneonatal, and infant mortality risks for blacks, whites, and all races in 12 categories of birth weights. (Note: Neonatal mortality risk = number of deaths to infants less than 28 days of life per 1,000 live births; postneonatal mortality risk = number of deaths to infants 28 days to less than 1 year of life per 1,000 neonatal survivors; and infant mortality risk = number of deaths to infants less than 1 year of life per 1,000 live births.) Separate tabulations were requested for infants born in single and multiple deliveries. For single-delivery births, tabulations included birth weight, age at death, race of infant, and each of these characteristics: infant's live-birth order, sex, gestation, type of delivery, and cause of death; and mother's age, education, prenatal care history, and number of prior fetal losses at 20 weeks' or more gestation. An estimated 95 percent of eligible deaths were included in the NIMS tabulations. The analyses focus on three components of infant mortality: birth weight distribution of live births, neonatal mortality, and postneonatal mortality. The most important predictor for infant survival was birth weight, with an exponential improvement in survival by increasing birth weight to its optimum level. The nearly twofold higher risk of infant mortality among blacks was related to a higher prevalence of low birth weights and to higher mortality risks in the neonatal period for infants weighing 3,000 grams or more, and in the postneonatal period for all infants, regardless of birth weight. Regardless of other infant or maternal risk factors, the black-white gap persisted for infants weighing 2,500 grams or more.
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