WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Some researchers worry about the increasing Hispanic infant mortality rate in Kansas as the trend moves in the opposite direction for babies overall in the state.
The Hispanic community has historically had low infant mortality rates despite lack of access to prenatal care.
But the director of the Center for Research for Infant Birth and Survival, Cari Schmidt, said she fears that Hispanic babies are becoming more likely to die in their first year.
“There’s something going on in that community that we need to figure out and help address,” she said.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment documented five-year averages for infant mortality rates for 1997-2016. The department says infant mortality rates have declined for babies born to white or black mothers during that time, but increased for babies Hispanic mothers.
One reason for the increase could be due to toxic stress. Researchers have investigated eating habits, obesity, prenatal care and more to explain the disparity in infant mortality between black and white infants. They’ve recently determined that it’s more likely that racial disparities come from social mechanisms and class disparities.
Researchers have also considered the impact of immigration raids on the health of babies born in Latino communities.