New findings may offer a boost to proponents of newborn male circumcision: Researchers in the U.S. and Australia report that the health benefits of undergoing the procedure “exceed the risks by over 100 to 1,” and note that “over their lifetime, half of uncircumcised males will contract an adverse medical condition caused by their foreskin.”
The review, published online in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, bolsters the position of mainstream physician groups, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, which supports insurance coverage of the practice and full access for families who choose circumcision for their infants. But the new report is unlikely to silence critics of the practice, who have called it “insane” and a “disservice to American parents and children.”
Here’s some context, from the study, which shows a slight increase in circumcision among older men, but a decline among newborns:“The latest data on male circumcision in the United States show a 2.5% overall increase in prevalence in males aged 14 to 59 years between 2000 and 2010. In contrast, there has been a downward trend in neonatal circumcisions, with the present analyses ﬁnding that the true extent of this decline is 6 percentage points.”
And here’s more from the news release:
Whereas circumcision rates have risen in white men to 91%, in black men to 76%, and in Hispanic men to 44%, the study authors found an alarming decrease in infants. To get the true figures they had to correct hospital discharge data for underreporting. This showed that circumcision had declined from a high of 83% in the 1960s to 77% today.
There seemed to be two major reasons for the fall.
One is a result of demographic changes, with the rise in the Hispanic population. Hispanic families tend to be less familiar with the custom, making them less likely to circumcise their baby boys.
The other is the current absence of Medicaid coverage for the poor in 18 US states. In those states circumcision is 24% lower. Continue reading