Community leaders are trumpeting the success of maternity care programs targeting Pacific Islanders with news that the infant mortality rate has dropped 48 percent in approximately three years.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reports Utah’s infant mortality rate among Pacific Islanders dropped from 7.4 of every 1,000 births in 2004-2007 to 3.6 of every 1,000 births in 2008-2011.
That’s below the state wide average of 5 per 1,000 births.
A survey done of 605 Pacific Islanders conducted in English, Tongan or Samoan found respondents had nearly twice the rate of obesity and diabetes. The survey also uncovered a cultural belief that larger moms and babies are healthier.
The State Department of Health launched a program to counter those beliefs and educate expectant parents about proper nutrition and infant care.