Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Births Down for Fourth Straight Year
The weak economy is a major reason why the U.S. birth rate fell
for the fourth year in a row in 2011, according to experts.
The federal government said Wednesday that there were fewer than
four million births last year, which is the lowest number since
1998. But that 1 percent decline in births in 2011 was less steep
than the drops of 2 to 3 percent that occurred in other recent
Many experts believe that the struggling economy is the main
cause of declining births. They explain that people who are
unemployed, underemployed or have other money problems can't afford
to have children.
The government said there was a new low in teen births and steep
declines in Hispanic birth rates in 2011. Teen birth rates have
been falling for 20 years and experts say that Hispanics have been
disproportionately affected by the economic downturn, the
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