Report: African-American babies at higher risk of death

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A new report from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is raising concerns about the mortality rate for African-American babies.

The health department report found that the overall infant mortality rate of 5.9 per 1,000 live births in 2016 was unchanged from the year before and in line with the national average.

But the Lawrence Journal-World reports that the death rate for African-American babies was 15.2 per 1,000 live births — nearly three times higher than the mortality rate for white or Hispanic infants.

KDHE spokesman Jerry Kratochvil says the agency is unable to explain the disparity, but it is consistent with national patterns.