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State Says Baby Deaths Down In California

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The numbers from the state Department of Public Health are for 2010, the most recent year data are available.

The death rate was 4.7 per 1,000 babies under-the-age-of-one, down two-tenths of a percent from the year before.

"This is something to be greatly celebrated in California."

State Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman heads the department. He attributes part of the declining mortality rate to a drop in premature births…from 10.4% in 2009 to 10% the following year.

"Some babies when they're born early, some of their organs like their lungs are not fully developed, they can suffer a number of health consequences that unfortunately lead to death in the first year."

African American babies experienced the largest decline in mortality by one-full percentage point. But it was still twice as high as the overall rate.

Chapman says California had the country's fourth-lowest infant mortality rate.

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