Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Inuit infant mortality three times Canadian average; children go hungry: Study

Inuit infant mortality three times Canadian average; children go ...

RT @Northern_Clips: #Inuit infant mortality 3 times average; kids go hungry
highest rate is Nunavik 18.1/1000 die before 1st birthday #Arctic


Inuit infants die at well over three times the rate of other Canadian babies, according to a massive new study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

And as if to underscore the tough situation facing aboriginal children in Canada's North, a second study in the same journal found that 70 per cent of Inuit preschoolers live in homes where there isn't always enough food.

"Inuit children in Nunavut are faced with health challenges that are more severe than those in Southern Canada due to the socio-economic conditions facing the entire territory," said Dr. Isaac Sobol, the territory's chief public officer of health.

To study the Inuit infant mortality rate, University of Montreal researcher Dr. Zhong-Cheng Luo looked at all four million births in Canada between 1990 and 2000. He then broke out those that occurred in 53 predominantly Inuit communities in the Arctic, from Labrador in the east the Mackenzie Delta in the west.

After comparing those births with deaths in the first year of life, Luo found the mortality rate for Inuit infants was 16.5 per thousand live births – a rate not seen in Southern Canada since 1971 and 3.6 times the Canadian average of 4.6 deaths.

Luo's data are at least a decade old, but more recent information isn't encouraging.

"If you look at the trends over time, you do not see any improvement," he said.

The lowest rate was in the Inuvialuit region in the Northwest Territories, at 13.4 deaths per thousand births. The highest rate was in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, where 18.1 babies out of every thousand die before their first birthday.

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