Baby boys are more likely to die than baby girls and medical advances have actually increased the gender gap, a study released on Monday found.
An analysis of infant mortality in 15 developed countries found that Baby boys are more likely to die than baby girls and medical advances have actually increased the gender gap, a study released on Monday found.
An analysis of infant mortality in 15 developed countries found that baby boys are 24 per cent more likely to die than baby girls.
This is down from a peak of 31 per cent in 1970, but double the rate in the days before the development of vaccines and public health measures like better sanitation dramatically improved infant mortality rates.
The male disadvantage begins in uteri. Girls have a stronger immune system while boys are 60 per cent more likely to be born prematurely and to suffer from respiratory problems, among others. Boys are also more likely to cause risky or difficult labour because of their larger body and head size.
When poor sanitation and nutrition weakened all babies and mothers, the male disadvantage was less noticeable: from 1751 until 1870 the gender mortality gap was about 10 to 15 per cent.
But the development of the germ theory dramatically cut infectious disease rates, making complications of childbirth and premature birth more common causes of death.
The gender gap rose steadily as infant mortality rates plummeted and only began to reverse with the increased use of cesarean sections and improvements in neonatal care.
Baby girls in the country are much more likely to die due to both preventable illness and unexplained causes in comparison to baby boys, a study here says, throwing light on society’s gender bias.
The study carried out by a team of scientists from St Stephens Hospital and AIIMS in three socio-economically deprived colonies found that the number of deaths of baby girls below one year due to unexplained causes was three times more than that of their male counterparts.
“Unexplained deaths means when the cause of death is not ascertained,” head of the Department of Community Health at St Stephens Hospital Dr Amod Kumar, who was a part of the team which carried out the study, said.
Even in the category of treatable diseases, the number of baby girls who died in first year was double than that of baby boys, Dr Kumar said.
“It is very unfortunate that diarrhoea – which is a treatable disease – was responsible for 22 per cent deaths in children, killing twice as many girls,” Dr Kumar said.
Girls between their first and fifth birthdays were 30-50 per cent more likely to die as compared to boys, the research, which was aimed at determining whether the imbalance in country’s sex ratio could be explained by less favourable treatment of girls in infancy, he said.