The gap between black and white women's infant mortality rates in Florida is widening, Florida Department of Health officials told a state Senate committee on Wednesday, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
According to William Sappenfield of Florida's Health and Family Health Service division, the state's racial gap in infant mortality nearly doubled from 1970 to 2005.
"Black women are twice as likely to have premature babies in Florida than white women," Sappenfield said, adding, "Very premature babies have very high mortality rates."
In addition, one study found that the infant mortality rate among college-educated black women was higher than among white women who had less than a high school education, according to Sappenfield. Researchers are still trying to determine the reason behind the disparity but think racism-related stress, access to health care and culture are likely contributing factors, the Democrat reports. State Senate Committee Chair Mandy Dawson (D) said, "We're clear about the problem; we want to be clear about solutions".
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation