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Italy's infant mortality rate among world's lowest

About four deaths of under-fives per 1,000

15 January, 15:17
Italy's infant mortality rate among world's lowest (ANSA) - Rome, January 15 - Italy has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world for children under age five, the Italian national statistics agency ISTAT said Wednesday. ISTAT noted that there were 2,084 under-five deaths in 2011, compared with 399,505 in 1887: a reduction from 347 deaths per 1,000 births to about four per 1,000. Sweden has the lowest under-five mortality rate in Europe, followed by France.

While in the late 19th century young children in Italy died mainly due to infectious diseases, 72% of deaths are now due to conditions of birth (48%) and genetic defects (24%), ISTAT said.

In 2011, 85% of deaths of those under age five in Italy occurred in the first year of life and a full half in the first seven days. The agency reported that the mortality rate at birth was 2.9 per 1,000 in 2011. It is higher for children born to mothers of foreign nationalities living in Italy, at 4.3 per 1,000.

Since 2006 the mortality rate of native Italians has always been lower than that of their foreign counterparts, though both have seen reductions. An analysis of infant mortality - linked as it is to healthcare, environmental and social conditions - can indicate differing levels of wealth between Italians and immigrants. Foreign women give birth to more children with health problems, especially ones related to the cardiocirculatory system, which medical advances have enabled to survive the first month but often not beyond that.