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Non-Health Care Spending Linked to Infant Mortality Rates

MONDAY, Oct. 19, 2020 -- Investment in non-health care services is associated with lower infant mortality rates (IMRs), according to a study published online Oct. 19 in Pediatrics.

Neal D. Goldstein, Ph.D., from the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and colleagues quantified how U.S. state government spending on various services impacted IMRs over time in a longitudinal study of U.S. state-level infant mortality and state and local government spending for 2000 to 2016. Spending on education, social services, and environment and housing were included as expenditures.

The researchers found that on average, state and local governments spend $9 per person. An increase of $0.30 per person in environmental spending was associated with a reduction of 0.03 deaths per 1,000 live births, while an increase of $0.73 per person in social services spending was associated with a reduction of 0.02 deaths per 1,000 live births. The single greatest benefit from an increase in expenditures was seen for infants born to mothers younger than 20 years compared with all other groups. There were associations noted for increased expenditures in public health, housing, parks and recreation, and solid waste management with the greatest reduction in overall IMR.

"These findings reinforce the role social determinants of health, like accessing clean air and water, play in one's health -- even before birth," Goldstein said in a statement.

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Posted: October 2020

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