TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - New research released this week shows Indiana is one of the worst states in the nation for infant deaths.
Indiana ranks 41st in the nation for infant mortality.
Experts with the Indiana Youth Institute say this is an indication of overall health.
Research from the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, released by IYI, shows Hoosier babies are twenty-four percent more likely to die before their first birthday compared to children in other states. More than six hundred babies died statewide in 2016 and ten of those were in Vigo county.
The numbers also show a disparity. The death rate is higher among black, Hispanic and Asian children compared to white babies.
Low birth weight can be a factor in the deaths. Smoking, doing drugs and drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to premature birth and a low birth weight.
Indiana Youth Institute CEO Tami Silverman says more must be done to insure mothers have access to prenatal care and healthy foods. She says people with livable wages also are more likely to have successful pregnancies.
Luckily, Silverman adds, this issue has come to the forefront with the governor making it a key focus and other state and local agencies saying we need to do better.
More from the Kids Count Data Book can be found here.