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

May 02, 2014

The UK has one of the highest rates of death for children under five in western Europe [1], 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 children, 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 mortality rates 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 death rates in the UK are a reminder to all of us that, even as we are seeing child mortality 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 child deaths 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).

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 health of the next generation of British citizens--more seriously, newborns and older children will continue to suffer and die needlessly."
-end-
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.

For a press release from IHME outlining the global findings from each of these studies, see http://press.thelancet.com/IHMEpressreleaseMay2014.pdf

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and US Agency for International Development.

[1] The countries included in Western Europe are: Andorra; Austria; Belgium; Cyprus; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Norway; Portugal; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; and UK.

The Lancet

Related Mortality Rates Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 mortality rates higher among men than women
A new review article from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) shows people who are biologically male are dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than people who are biologically female.

Study links three key variables to higher rural mortality rates in US
Since the 1980s, the all-cause mortality rate for rural residents in the US has exceeded that of urban residents.

Anal cancer rates and mortality have risen dramatically among Americans
Rates of new anal cancer diagnoses and deaths related to human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection, have increased dramatically over the last 15 years, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Men with breast cancer face high mortality rates: Study
Men with breast cancer are more likely to die than their female counterparts, across all stages of disease, with the disparity persisting even when clinical characteristics, such as cancer types, treatment and access to care are considered, according to a study by Vanderbilt researchers published in JAMA Oncology.

Mortality rates of major league baseball players
Major league baseball (MLB) players had lower death rates overall and from many underlying causes of death compared with men in the general US population, differences that could be associated in part with the physical fitness required for their jobs.

New Labour's policies reduced geographical inequalities in infant mortality rates
Efforts by the Labour government to reduce inequalities between the most deprived areas of England and the rest of the country had a positive impact on infant mortality rates, suggests research by the Universities of Newcastle, Leeds, York, and Liverpool published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Global colorectal cancer mortality rates predicted to rise
In the first effort to predict the future burden of colorectal cancer mortality globally, researchers note that colon and rectal cancer mortality rates are projected to decrease in most countries apart from some Latin American and Caribbean countries, but increases are predicted for several countries from Europe, North America and Oceania.

Mortality rates rising for Gens X and Y too
Declining life expectancies in the US include Gen X and Y Americans, in addition to the older Baby Boomers.

Drug resistant infections associated with higher in-hospital mortality rates in India
In one of the largest studies to measure the burden of antibiotic resistance in a low- or middle-income country, researchers at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy report that in-hospital mortality is significantly higher among patients infected with multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extensively drug resistant (XDR) pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii.

How have mortality rates changed over time for infants, children?
Mortality rates for death from any cause declined in all age groups from 1999 to 2015 in a study that analyzed death certificate data for people younger than 25 in the United States, Canada and England/Wales. More than 1.1 million deaths occurred during the study period in the United States, where mortality rates for death from any cause were the highest.

Read More: Mortality Rates News and Mortality Rates Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.