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Fewer newborn babies circumcised in the US

The rate of newborn circumcision fell 10 percent between 1979 and 2010, a study found.

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Medicaid does not cover circumcision in some states in the U.S., which might be one reason for the decline in the number of newborns undergoing the procedure. (John Moore/AFP/Getty Images)

Fewer newborn babies are being circumcised in the United States, a new study has found.

The rate of circumcisions across the country fell from 64.5 percent in 1979 to 58.3 percent in 2010, according to a study published Thursday by the Division of Health Care Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That represents a 10 percent drop in the number of baby boys circumcised in hospital after they were born, according to the data drawn from the National Hospital Discharge Survey.

The survey doesn’t include boys who were circumcised out of hospital or later in life.

The change was most significant in the country's west, where only 40.2 percent of newborn babies were circumcised in 2010, compared with 63.9 percent in 1979 -- a drop of 37 percent. 

One reason put forward to explain the decline was the fall in insurance coverage for circumcision. In a number of states, Medicaid does not cover the procedure, Kazu radio reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, top US pediatricians' group says