A father's involvement in pregnancy could be a vital factor in bringing down infant mortality, states a new study.
Previous studies have shown that fathers who are active in their children's upbringing can significantly benefit their children's early development, academic achievement and well being.
Now, a new study by University of South Florida researchers suggests that a father's involvement before his child is born may play an important role in preventing death during the first year of life - particularly if the infant is black.
The USF team sought to evaluate whether the absence of fathers during pregnancy contributes to racial and ethnic disparities in infant survival and health.
"Our study suggests that lack of paternal involvement during pregnancy is an important and potentially modifiable risk factor for infant mortality," said the study's lead author Amina Alio, research assistant professor of community and family health at the USF College of Public Health.
"A significant proportion of infant deaths could be prevented if fathers were to become more involved," Alio added.
Their findings were recently reported online in the Journal of Community Health.