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Domestic violence linked to dying earlier

COLUMBIA, Mo., June 8 (UPI) -- Experts suggest the United States' ranking near the bottom of 33 developed countries for life expectancy at birth -- 27th -- may be due to domestic violence.

Tina Bloom, an assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, says leading causes of infant mortality are complications related to pre-term birth or low birth weight-outcomes -- both of which can have a life-long impact -- have been linked with domestic violence.

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However, addressing maternal-child health disparities goes beyond the issue of domestic violence because abused women need access to resources for finding employment, affordable and safe housing, financial assistance, transportation and healthcare, Bloom explains.

These social determinants of health, articulated in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' "Healthy People 2020," a 10-year plan for improving the health of Americans, heavily influence women's responses to violence and the health of women and children.

"Healthcare providers are not well trained to routinely screen or recognize the signs of domestic violence," Bloom says in a statement. "They don't know how to ask about abuse, what to say or how to connect abused women with help. We need to engage with current students, our future healthcare providers, to bring this issue to the forefront."

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Healthy mothers produce healthy babies and together they give rise to a healthy population, Bloom adds.

Bloom's findings are published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.

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