Low Birth Weight Infants
What is low birth weight?
Babies who weigh less than about five and a half pounds (2500 grams) at birth are considered low birth weight. Many factors, including poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, stress and smoking by the mother, can increase the risk of having a low birth-weight baby.
Why is this indicator included in CalEnviroScreen?
- Living in a neighborhood where there is violence or poverty, or where health care and healthy food are not available, can increase the chance of low birth weight.
- Mothers who are exposed to pollution from traffic, industry or agriculture are more likely to bear low weight babies.
- Low birth weight babies may develop asthma or other chronic diseases later in life, and they are more likely to die as infants than babies who weigh more.
How do we measure low birth weight in CalEnviroScreen 3.0?
- The California Department of Public Health collects information on where low birth weight infants are born in California.
- The indicator is the percentage of low weight births, averaged over a sever-year period (2006-2012).
- A complete description of the Low Birth Weight indicator is contained in the CalEnviroScreen 3.0 report.
Where can I find more information about low birth weight?
- CDPH, California Environmental Health Tracking Program, Prematurity and Growth Retardation
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reproductive and Birth Outcomes: Low Birth Weight