Low Birth Weight
Newborn babies weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams) are considered to be low birth weight. Low income, lack of education, chronic health problems of the mother, smoking, alcohol and poor nutrition are associated with an increased risk of having a low birth weight baby. Although advances in medical care have reduced the death rate associated with low birth weight, a small percentage of low birth weight babies have serious health problems and cognitive disabilities resulting in learning problems.
- According to the CDC’s preliminary National Vital Statistics Report for 2009, 8.2% of newborn babies in the United States, 1 in every 12 births, are of low birth weight (Source: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 59, No. 3, Table 8, December 21, 2010).
- In 2009, Pinellas County’s low birth weight births (706) accounted for 8.0% of total births, a sharp decline from 2008 and 8.0% below Florida’s average of 8.7% (see Chart 1).
- Pinellas’ 2009 rate was the lowest since 2003.
A breakdown by race shows that the rate of low birth weight births for blacks is more than double that of whites and Hispanics (Chart 2).
During 2007-09, the rate of low birth weight births per 100 resident live births for Pinellas County was below the state average and other counties of similar size (Chart 3).
- Department of Health (DOH) – Healthy Families