A new report claims the U.K.'s infant mortality rate could lag behind other developed countries unless leaders take action.
Researchers from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health say the rate could be 140% higher than some other comparable countries by 2030 if current trends continue.
The team made that prediction after analyzing data from Great Britain and 15 comparably wealthy European Union nations.
It points out that in England and Wales, the infant mortality rate recently increased for two years in a row after continuously improving for more than a century.
The report estimates that even if the U.K.'s rate goes back to improving, it'll still be 80 percent higher than those other countries in the same time frame.
To give some perspective, a country's infant mortality rate is generally described as deaths under one year of age per 1,000 live births. The U.S., for example, has a higher infant mortality rate than comparable countries.
Researchers say the rise in the U.K.'s infant mortality rate could be related to higher risk factors linked to poverty and inequality, like smoking during pregnancy and low breastfeeding rates.
The study's authors say while the findings are alarming, the trend is reversible if the right steps are taken. They recommend implementing a comprehensive health strategy focused on early childhood development.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.