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MORE BABIES DIE IN POORER AREAS; Rich kids face lower death risk.

Byline: John Ferguson

BABIES from Scotland's poorest neighbourhoods are almost five times more likely than those from the richest to die before they are one.

The shocking statistic was revealed yesterday in an NHS report that analysed the postcodes of newborns for the first time.

Of 59,082 births in Scotland in 2010, 15,361 mums lived in the most deprived fifth of postcode areas, while 9453 were from the most affluent.

In the poorest areas, 85 children died before reaching one. In the best areas there were 11 deaths.

The figures - which do not include stillbirths - represent an death rate of 5.5 per thousand children in the most deprived areas. In the best-off areas, the rate is 1.2 per thousand.

Mothers who smoked were also more likely to have a child die before its first birthday, while obesity was shown to increase the risk of stillbirth.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "The death of even one baby is a tragedy. The report shows that the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, perinatal deaths and infant deaths were the lowest ever recorded in Scotland.

"The rate of post-natal deaths equalled the lowest ever recorded.

However, we want to drive the number of deaths down further.

"We have been aware of the increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes in the more deprived areas and are working to reduce antenatal inequalities."

Leslie Marr, of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, said: "This is the first time we have had statistics for postcode areas.

"We will have to wait and look at information over the next few years to decide how much of a factor this is playing."

The Scottish Perinatal and Infant Mortality and Morbidity Report 2010 said stillbirths and deaths among newborns were at a record low, though there were 661.

The rate of stillbirths was 4.9 per thousand births, while infant mortality was 3.7 per thousand. It's the first time the figures is better than those in England and Wales.


TEARS* An infant cries
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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