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Hospital Circumcisions Drop 10 Percent

Update Date: Aug 22, 2013 10:58 AM EDT

Circumcision is a surgical procedure that involves removing the foreskin of the penis and usually occurs right after birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the health benefits of getting circumcised are greater than the potential risks involved. Studies have found that circumcision could reduce one's risk of infections and penile cancer. Even though this organization believes that circumcisions help newborn boys, new data found that over the past three decades, hospital circumcisions have dropped by 10 percent.

In this new government report, researchers looked at the circumcision trend from 1979 to 2010. The researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics calculated that the overall rate of decline within this 32-year span was 10 percent, falling from 64.5 percent to 58.3 percent. Hospital circumcisions were at its highest in 1981 with 64.9 percent and its lowest in 2007 at 55.4 percent. The researchers noted that they did not collect data on circumcisions that occurred outside of hospitals.

Even though the researchers found an overall decline, over the past recent years, there was a slight increase in circumcisions. From 2007 to 2010, the rate jumped slightly from 55.4 percent to 58.3 percent. The researchers noted that regional declines were more noticeable in Western States. From 1979 to 2010, the rate dropped from 63.9 percent to 40.2 percent. Although the researchers did not find the exact cause for decline, an expert reasoned that the drop could be due to the fact that newborns do not stay in the hospitals for that long anymore.

"Often they're going home within 24 hours, so in some places, these procedures are increasingly being done by the pediatrician during the follow-up period in the doctor's office or clinic as opposed to the hospital," pediatrician Douglas Diekema from the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children's Research Institute, said according to USA Today. Diekema added that the declines in western states could be due to the increase in immigration of foreigners who do not normally perform circumcisions.

Despite the potential health benefits of circumcisions, this procedure is usually performed for religious purposes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 30 percent of males who are 15 or older are circumcised. From this percentage, 69 percent are Muslim and one percent are Jewish. For more information, visit the National Center for Health Statistics page

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