and percentage of low birth weight infants, that is, live born infants weighing
under 2,500 grams at birth
and percentage of very low birth weight infants, that is, live born infants weighing
under 1,500 grams at birth
Physical health status
Rationale for use of indicator
This measure is directly associated
with birth outcomes and is an indicator of access problems and/or need for prenatal
Low birth weight is associated with younger
and older maternal age, high parity, poor reproductive history, short time between
births of children, low socioeconomic status, low level of education, late entry
into prenatal care, low pregnancy weight gain and/or low prepregnancy weight,
urinary or genital infections, smoking, and substance abuse.
Very low birth
weight is commonly related to preterm birth, which in turn may be associated with
substance abuse, stress, and strenuous work during pregnancy.
birth weight and very low birth weight are associated with a high percentage of
infant deaths. Low birth weight babies are likely to have severe developmental
delay or congenital anomalies and to be at high risk for long-term disabilities
such as cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation and vision and hearing impairments.
The modifiable factors include early prenatal care, reduction
of smoking and substance abuse, and relief from work stress.
Texas Vital Statistics
Children at Risk. The indicators.
] July 1999.
National Center for Health Statistics. Health status indicators:
Definitions and national data. Healthy People 2000 Statistical Notes 1992;1(3):1-8.
USDHHS.Healthy people 2000: national health promotion and disease prevention
objectives: full report, with commentary. Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public
Health Service; 1991. Report No.: DHHS publication no.
© 1999 St. Lukes Episcopal Health Charities. All