Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital reveal that infants of women with less education are more likely to die within the first year of life.  In more than half of cases, the cause of death is premature childbirth and low fetal weight.

The study results came as somewhat of a surprise to the TrialSite News research staff, as Denmark is known for a high quality, social-driven healthcare system. Regardless of economic status or level, decent care is accessible to all residents of the Nordic country.

Study Results

The Aarhus University team found that in Denmark, 4 out of every 1,000 newborn babies die before reaching their first birthday.  A new study reveals that women with short-term education (primary and lower secondary education less than 9 years) or no education have a significantly increased risk of their child dying during the first year of life. Premature birth and low fetal weight can explain up to 55-60% of cases. The study is a cohort study covering 1,994,618 newborn babies in Denmark between 1981-2015.

Results have been published in PLoS Medicine.

Gaps in the Danish Welfare Society

One of the study investigators, Yongfu Yu, noted “Even in a welfare society like Denmark, pregnant women with short-term education need more resources to address social challenges in order to improve the health of infants in general, and to reduce child mortality in particular.”  Despite a very high, progressive taxation rate, the inequality based on economic class, as measured by infant mortality, is striking.

Funders

The study was funded by a diverse group of sponsors including:

  • Lundbeck Foundation
  • The Danish Council for Independent Research
  • Novo Nordisk Fonden
  • Nordic Cancer Union
  • Karen Elise Jensens Fond
  • National Natural Science Foundation of Chines
  • The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science
  • The U.S. National Library of Medicine
  • The National Center for Advancing Translational Science
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Lead Research/Investigator and Contact Information

PhD, MSc. Postdoc, Yongfu Yu
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Tel.: (+1) 4244022194
Email: yoyu@clin.au.dk

PhD, Associate Professor, Jiong Li
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Tel.: (+45) 8716 8401

Source: EurekAlert!

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