Health

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Incidence of Underweight Babies Rises in United States

June 13, 2008 07:01 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
The percentage of babies born with low birth weights in the United States is the highest it’s been in 40 years, according to a report on child health and well-being.

30-Second Summary

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its annual Kids Count report, which measures child health and well-being around the United States in 10 categories. The latest report indicates that conditions have largely improved for teens, but babies haven’t fared so well.

Particularly troubling is the rise in the number of underweight infants being born. Underweight babies are defined as those weighing less than 5.5 pounds. Low-birth-weight babies have a higher risk of dying in infancy or experiencing a long-term disability.

Researchers have recently determined that underweight babies also have an increased chance of being autistic.

Kids Count Coordinator Laura Beavers said the change noted in this year’s report is due to several factors, including a higher number of multiples pregnancies, a mother’s general health during pregnancy and her access to good prenatal care.

Because very small babies face unique health risks, health scientist Diana Schendel says the need to closely monitor these children for health and behavioral problems becomes especially important.

Headline Link: Child well-being results

Related Topics: Underweight risks; multiples pregnancies

Risks of low birth weight
Multiples pregnancies

Reference: Kids Count Information, Pregnancy Resources

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