U.S. ranks 41st in neonatal death rate
The United States ranks 41st in the world in the death rate of infants less than 1 month old — worse than Cuba, Slovakia, Croatia and all of Western Europe. A study published in the August issue of PLoS Medicine reports that neonatal death rates in the United States have decreased, but at a slower rate than in 117 other countries. Researchers estimated that 3.3 million children younger than a month old died worldwide in 2009, down from 4.6 million in 1990; the death rate declined 28 percent in the same period, to 23.9 per 1,000 births from 33.2 in 1990. More than half of neonatal deaths in 2009 occurred in five countries that account for 44 percent of live births: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and Congo.
Study: Aim young to curb diabetes
Public health programs about diabetes prevention should focus on a younger, ethnic population to curb the disease. That's the word from a new study finding that Type 2 diabetes risk goes up not only with how obese a person is, but how many years they've been obese. And among those who carried a similar amount of extra weight for the same amount of time, blacks and Hispanics had a greater risk of diabetes. "The tripling of obesity rates for U.S. children during the last 30 to 40 years," researchers wrote, "implies that younger generations of individuals are carrying a longer duration of obesity over their lifetime." The study was released online Tuesday in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Kids around smoke miss more school
Children who live in homes where at least one person smokes inside the house miss more days of school than kids who live in non-smoking homes, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston reported this week in the journal Pediatrics. Using the 2005 National Health Interview Study, researchers looked at kids ages 6 and 11, excluding kids 12 and above to minimize chances that it was students themselves doing the smoking. Kids living with one adult who smoked in the home had 1.06 more days absent from school per year than kids who lived with none; those in two-smoker households missed 1.54 more days than smoke-free kids. Ear infections and colds were reported more often in kids who live with smokers.