Friday, June 21, 2013

About those infant mortality numbers

One of the consistent refrains from those who advocate nationalized/socialist healthcare is that the infant mortality rates in western Europe, and even Cuba, are lower than those in the United States.  It's real data--see this CDC report.

Now this doesn't mean Cuban healthcare is better--page 4 of the CDC report indicates that U.S. survival rates at given gestational ages are among the best in the world, after all. Let's also ignore the possibility that Cuban authorities are fudging the data.

Rather, let's ask how overwhelmingly poor Cuba, with a large black and mixed-race population (a risk factor for infant death) and a hospital system that manages to let patients freeze to death in the tropics, achives its decent 6.2/1000 infant mortality rate.

Look at that CDC report again; premature birth drives infant mortality, and here are the risk factors for premature birth: race, factors related to injuries, relationships, and....the consequences of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Now if this is indicative, one can't prove that Cuban marriages are healthier than ours, or that women are suffering fewer injuries due to domestic violence and the like.  The data just aren't there.  However, if we look at the proportion of residents who are obese, we find that 33.9% of U.S. citizens are obese, versus only 11.8% of Cubans.

The same source notes that the obesity rates of all western European countries, as well as those of east Asia, are about half the U.S. rate--as is their rate of premature birth.  It suggests that the major reason for relatively low infant mortality rates in Cuba is not federalized health care, but rather poverty.

I'll pass.

No comments: