- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CHICAGO (Agence France-Presse) — Baby boys are more likely to die than baby girls and medical advances have increased the gap between the sexes, a study released yesterday found.

An analysis of infant mortality in 15 developed countries found that baby boys are 24 percent more likely to die than baby girls.

This is down from a peak of 31 percent in 1970, but double the rate in the days before the development of vaccines and public health measures such as improved sanitation dramatically lowered infant mortality rates.

“During the great historical improvements in infant mortality, the rising male disadvantage in infancy revealed a level of unexpected male vulnerability,” said the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“As infant mortality falls to very low levels, infant deaths become increasingly concentrated among those who are born with some weakness.”

The male disadvantage begins in utero.

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