UK has one of the highest death rates for children in western Europe

May 2, 2014, Lancet

(Medical Xpress)—The UK has one of the highest rates of death for children under five in western Europe, according to new research published in The Lancet.

The findings come from a new study coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Their figures provide a comprehensive new analysis of global progress towards reducing child mortality.

Although, by international standards, the UK has very low rates of deaths in , the figures show that within western Europe, the UK has a higher rate of deaths in children than nearly every other country in the region. The mortality rate in the UK for children under five is 4.9 deaths per 1000 births, more than double that in Iceland (2.4 per 1000 births), the country with the lowest mortality rates. 3800 children under five died in the UK in 2013, the highest absolute number of deaths in the region.

In addition to calculating overall mortality rates for children under five, the researchers also analysed mortality rates for subdivided age categories. The UK was shown to have the worst outcomes compared with nearly every other western European nation for early neonatal deaths (death between 0 and 6 days), post-neonatal deaths (death between 29 and 364 days), and the worst outcomes of any country for childhood deaths (death between 1 and 4 years).

Across Europe as a whole, child are substantially worse in Central Europe (average mortality rate 6.7 deaths per 1000 births) and Eastern Europe (average mortality rate 9.7 deaths per 1000 births); the UK's under-5 mortality rate is comparable to that of Serbia and Poland. Outside of Europe, the UK has a higher child mortality rate than Australia, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

"We were surprised by these findings because the UK has made so many significant advances in public health over the years," said Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the study's senior author. "The higher than expected child rates in the UK are a reminder to all of us that, even as we are seeing decline worldwide, countries need to examine what they are doing to make sure more children grow into adulthood."

Globally, rates of child deaths have been declining since 1990, with a sharper rate of decline in many countries observed since the Millennium Development Goals were established in 2000. In the UK, although the rate of per 1000 births declined overall between 1990 and 2013, but the rate of decline has slowed, and in 2000-2013 was half that seen in the previous decade (1990–2000).

Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, commented: "These figures show the significant health burden that children bear in the UK compared with their European neighbours. The reasons for this are likely to be complex, but undoubtedly include the poor organisation of children's health services in the UK. Until our politicians begin to take the health of children—the of the next generation of British citizens—more seriously, newborns and older children will continue to suffer and die needlessly."

The findings appear in the study Global, regional, and national levels of neonatal, infant, and under-5 mortality during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, which is published alongside another study, Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.

Explore further: Viral hepatitis more deadly than HIV in Europe

More information: The complete report titled "Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990—2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013" is available online: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan … (14)60696-6/fulltext

Related Stories

Viral hepatitis more deadly than HIV in Europe

April 11, 2014
Mortality from viral hepatitis is significantly higher than from HIV/AIDS across EU countries, according to results from The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) which was announced for the first time today at the ...

New method quantifies uncertainty in estimates of child mortality rates

December 11, 2012
Measures of uncertainty should be taken into account when estimating progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4 (to reduce the mortality rate of children under 5 years by two thirds from the 1990 level by 2015) in order ...

CDC: Motor vehicle occupant death rates down for children (Update)

February 4, 2014
(HealthDay)—The rate of motor vehicle occupant deaths among children decreased from 2002 to 2011, but one-third of all children who died were unrestrained, according to a report published in the Feb. 4 early-release issue ...

Death rates in newborns remain shockingly high in Africa and India

August 30, 2011
Neonatal mortality -- deaths in newborns, aged 3 weeks and under -- has declined in all regions of the world over the past two decades but in 2009, more than half of all neonatal deaths occurred in five countries—India, ...

Best-case scenario suggests that just one in five countdown countries can meet targets for cutting child mortality

September 19, 2013
A comprehensive new analysis of interventions to reduce maternal and child deaths in developing countries, published in The Lancet, reveals that if current trends continue, just nine Countdown countries will meet internationally ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.