New estimates show a 27 percent drop in the under 5 mortality rate, from 93 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 68 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2007, the United Nations Children's Fund said in a release from New York.
The data indicate 12.7 million children under age 5 died worldwide 1990 and 9.2 million died in 2007, UNICEF said. Malnutrition was a contributing cause in more than a third of the 2007 deaths.
"Since 1960, the global under-5 mortality rate has declined more than 60 percent, and the new data (show) that downward trend continues," UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman said. "While progress has been made, much remains to be done" to ensure children in developing countries receive the nourishment they need.
Several countries -- including Bangladesh, Bolivia and Nepal -- reduced their under-5 mortality rates by more than 50 percent since 1990, she said. Other countries, such as Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, and Ethiopia, lowered their rates by at least 40 percent.
Sierra Leone had the worst under-5 mortality rate, with 262 out of every 1,000 children dying before their fifth birthday, Veneman said.