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5.2 Low Birth Weight Babies

This indicator examines the percentage babies who are born with abnormally low birth weights.

This indicator is part of Access to health care.

Indicator description:

This indicator examines the percentage babies who are born with abnormally low birth weights. Low birth weight is a term used to describe babies who are born weighing less than 2,500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces). In contrast, the average newborn weighs about 7 pounds. The primary cause of low birth weight is premature birth (being born before 37 weeks gestation). Being born early means a baby has less time in the womb to grow, develop and gain weight. Much of a baby's weight is gained during the latter part of pregnancy. Low birth weights are linked to infant deaths.

Rollover and click the interactive graphs to make comparisons

Why is this indicator relevant?

Low birth weight babies have a greater risk of dying as infants. The high number of low birth weight babies in the United States is a vexing and persistent medical and social problem which is linked to lack of access to health care, lack of adequate nutrition, and smoking during pregnancy.


Data Sources:
New Mexico Department of Health, Natality Reports; Kids Count, Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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