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Good Health

Good Health
a baby being held as doctor hold a stethoscope against their chest

Physically and emotionally healthy babies are more likely to become healthy, stable, successful adults. Good nutrition, nurturing relationships with parents and caregivers, and high-quality medical care support sound bodies and minds and influence all areas of a child’s development.

To grow up healthy, babies need policy supports that effectively address:

  • Health care access/affordability
  • Food security
  • Food nutrition
  • Maternal health
  • Child health
  • Infant and early childhood mental health

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2020 shows wide variation in babies’ health outcomes and their families’ access to care—both key factors related to good health. For example:

  • Nationally, maternal mortality occurs at a rate of 17 deaths per 100,000 live births, but the rate among Black women is more than three times higher than White women.
  • On average, six in 1,000 babies born in the United States will not survive to see their first birthday. Mortality is more than twice as high for Black infants and slightly higher for Hispanic infants as it is for White infants.
  • As many as one in 12 babies are born at a low birthweight. The rate of Black women and Hispanic women at risk for having babies with low birthweight is 55% and 7% higher, respectively, than the rate for White women.

A Closer Look: Good Health & Equity

Several of the Yearbook’s Good Health indicators offer a compelling look at substantial differences in certain populations of babies and families. Disparities in access to health care, as well as health outcomes, are apparent when the data are analyzed by race, income, and urbanicity. The starkest differences are found by race in this area, including: prenatally, with Black women three times more likely and American Indian/Alaska Native twice as likely than White women to receive late or no prenatal care. Findings in this domain may also reveal areas in which the effects of these factors intersect and can be further explored.

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