The United States is last among 20 similarly developed countries in the world when it comes to childhood mortality, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine whose study was published in Health Affairs. According to the study, which analyzed data collected between 1961 and 2010, child mortality rates have improved in all participating countries, but improvement in the U.S. has lagged behind that of the other comparable nations.
U.S. childhood mortality rates have been higher since the 1980s, according to the researchers, resulting in more than 600,000 excess deaths. During the study period, premature births and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) were among the leading causes of death in babies. In the United States, infants were three times more likely to die from prematurity and more than twice as likely to die from SIDS.
In adolescents between ages 15 and 19, the leading causes of death included motor vehicle accidents and firearms. U.S. teens were twice as likely to die from a motor vehicle accident and 82 times more likely to die from a gunshot wound than teens in other wealthy nations. Although the United States spends more per capita on health care for children than other wealthy countries, the outcomes continue to be poorer, according to the researchers.