New Mexico health officials are concerned about an increase in the state's infant mortality rate.
The state Department of Health says New Mexico's rate has exceeded the national rate for the first time since 1994. The latest figures show an increase from 5.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 6.9 in 2012.
Health Secretary Retta Ward says the department will monitor the numbers closely to see if the increase signals a trend.
The main increase in infant deaths was in white and Hispanic infants during the neonatal period.
Birth defects as well as low birth weight and disorders related to preterm births were the most common causes of infant deaths.
Since last year, the department has been participating in a regional collaborative to reduce infant mortality.
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