Newborn baby being held and kissed by parents

(Photo credit: In The Light Photography on Shutterstock)

🔑 Key Findings:

  • U.K. researchers say non-White children have a 12% higher risk of death
  • The main cause of increased mortality risk was preterm birth
  • Infant death rates among Black and Asian babies are rising in the U.K.

BRISTOL, United Kingdom — Non-White children in the United Kingdom face a 12-percent higher risk of death compared to their White counterparts, a new study reveals. According to the research, approximately 200 infant deaths annually could be prevented if all children had the same mortality risk as White children.

This significant finding suggests that aligning the U.K.’s infant mortality rates with those of other EU nations could drastically reduce the country’s high infant mortality rate, one of the highest in Europe.

The research team, led by researchers from the University of Bristol, used data from Bristol’s National Child Mortality Database (NCMD), which records the deaths of all children in the U.K. before their 18th birthday. Their analysis indicates that infants from non-White backgrounds are at a greater risk of death, a discrepancy that cannot be explained by geographic location or socioeconomic status. Notably, nearly half of the increased risk for non-White infants was attributed to preterm births, a condition disproportionately more common among families of Asian or Black ethnicity.

mother holding baby in hospital

Earlier research shows that since 2021, death rates for children of Black or Asian backgrounds in England have risen, while those for White children have remained relatively stable. (Credit: Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash)The study’s authors emphasize the critical need for immediate action to address this disparity and to explore strategies for reducing the incidence of preterm births within these communities.

“England has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Europe, and there is an urgent need to identify and tackle the factors that are holding us back,” says Professor Karen Luyt, director of the NCMD and a researcher at Bristol University, in a media release. “This latest analysis of our unique dataset highlights specific groups at greater risk and gives a clear indication of where efforts might be focused to drive down infant mortality in the future.”

This analysis builds upon previous research by the same team, further highlighting the disparities in outcomes among children of different ethnic backgrounds. This research follows an earlier NCMD publication, which disclosed that since 2021, death rates for children of Black or Asian backgrounds have risen, while those for White children have remained relatively stable.

The study is published in JAMA Network Open.

SWNS writer Isobel Williams contributed to this report.

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1 Comment

  1. Johno says:

    “nearly half of the increased risk for non-White infants was attributed to preterm births”
    For lack of any other data the difference is probably cultural. Since the same level of health care is available to all Brits they need to break the pattern of pregnant women not seeking care in the non-white communities.