Guns or babies?
The researchers considered 22 economic, social, health and military spending indicators independently. While the analysis did not permit a ranking of the factors, it did indicate which ones were strong enough to affect infant mortality, says Davis U. Himmelstein of Harvard.
As with previous studies, low infant mortality was linked with clean water, adequate nutrition and a high level of education in the country. The researchers looked at data from 1972 and 1979 and found that an increase in arms spending led to an increase in the infant mortality rate. A reduction in economic development, health resources and social spending was also related to a higher incidence of infant deaths.
Military spending is a "highly significant predictor of infant mortality," says Himmelstein. In Japan, which spends less than 1 percent of its gross national product on the military, the infant mortality rate is about 6 deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births, while the United States, with a 6 percent military spending rate, has an infant mortality rate of about 11 per 1,000, he points out. "The study suggests a good deal of the difference may be due to military spending," says Himmelstein.
But authors of several letters in the July 6 LANCET claim there is not enough evidence to support a direct causal relationship.
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|Title Annotation:||infant mortality increases as military spending increases|
|Date:||Jul 20, 1985|
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