Norway’s Moms Have It Good

BY Cat Wise  May 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM EDT

Norway is the best country in the world to be a mother, according to a new report from the international nonprofit Save the Children. Niger replaces Afghanistan as the worst country for moms. Afghanistan had been at the bottom of the list for the previous two years.

The 13th annual State of the World’s Mothers report ranked the well-being of mothers in 165 countries – 43 developed nations and 122 in the developing world – based on a variety of criteria including health, nutrition, education, and economic and political status. Countries that did not release sufficient data were not included in the study.

At 25th in the world, the U.S. jumped six spots from 2011. “While the U.S. has moved up in the rankings, ahead of last year’s 31st place, we still fall below most wealthy nations,” said Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles in a statement. “A woman in the U.S. is more than seven times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause in her lifetime than a woman in Italy or Ireland.”

In addition to the country rankings, the report highlights the important role nutrition plays in the overall well-being of mothers and their children.

“I think the major message from the report is what we call the hidden crisis of malnutrition — 170 million kids are suffering from malnutrition. It’s something that has a big impact on the country rankings,” Miles told the NewsHour. “It kills kids. So it is a big issue when it comes to being a mom.”

According to Save the Children, malnutrition is the underlying cause of at least one-fifth of all maternal deaths and more than one-third of child deaths worldwide.