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Babies Born with Low Birth Weight
What is Low Birth Weight?
A baby is considered to have a low birth weight if he or she weighs less than 2,500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces) at birth. Often a low birth weight baby is born prematurely or several weeks before his or her “due date”.
How are Low Birth Weight Babies Related to Community Health?
Like the infant mortality rate, the number of low birth weight babies born is an important measure of health around the world. In 2006, 8.3% of babies born in the United States were low birth weight. The United States has a goal to reduce the number of low birth weight babies to less than 5%. Low birth weight in babies is thought to be related to the mother’s health, prenatal care, access to health care, education, and income. Other risk factors for low birth weight babies are the mother’s nutrition and age, and contact with cigarette smoke, alcohol, and lead during pregnancy.
About 30% of low birth weight babies are born to mothers who live alone and another 30% are born to families with three or more siblings. Statistically, low birth weight babies are more likely to die during their early years and are also more likely to develop physical and mental disabilities. As with the infant mortality rate, there are disparities in the percent of low birth weight babies by race and ethnic groups. In Minnesota, for example, the percentage of low birth weight babies born to whites in 2006 was 6%; for African-Americans, 10.3%; and Hispanics, 5.9%.
What the Map Shows
The map shows the percent of low birth weight babies born in the Central Corridor between 2002-2006. Because the number of babies in the Central Corridor is small, low birth weight babies born between 2002-2006 were combined in each Zip code. From 2002-2006, the percentage of low birth weight babies born in Minnesota was 4.8%, 7.1% in Ramsey County, and 7.4% in the Central Corridor. Between 2002 and 2006, 698 low birth weight babies were born in the Central Corridor. (Click on the map for a larger image.)
The data for low birth weight babies are reported by physicians and hospitals on birth certificates. Although there may be some errors, data are believed to be very accurate. The data may not be accurate for home births.
Printable information sheet, with map: Babies Born with Low Birth Weight (PDF: 267KB/2 pages)
Click on the map below for a larger image