Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds low birth weight rates vary widely across US

08.11.2005


Research may hold key to reduce national rate and improve neonatal health



Low birth weight, an important risk factor of infant mortality and childhood developmental disorders, varies more than 3-fold in regions across the U.S., according to national research conducted at Dartmouth Medical School. The study offers promise for health care experts in an area of prenatal health where progress has been elusive.

Published in the November 7 issue of Pediatrics, the study is the first to investigate regional low birth weight rates on a national scale, and identifies regions that have significantly low or high low birth weight rates. The authors, based at the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth Medical School, concluded that birthplace is as important for neonatal outcomes as the race or prenatal health of the mother.


A low birth weight baby is defined as a newborn weighing less than 5.5 pounds. Although researchers have long known that low birth weight can be influenced by many factors including the biological interaction of the mother and the fetus, the parent’s socioeconomic status, and medical care, these factors are little understood and public health initiatives aimed at reducing the incidence of low birth weight have been largely unsuccessful. National rates of low birth weight have actually increased over the past decade, a trend that has both economic and health consequences.

This study confirmed established knowledge that race plays a role in low birth weight, with an incidence of over 11 % of births to black mothers compared to less than 5 % of births to white mothers. Smoking or drinking during pregnancy approximately doubles the likelihood of low birth weight, as does a weight gain of less than 20 lbs. during pregnancy. Even after controlling for these established risk factors, the research team found that babies born in some regions of the U.S. were still more than 3 times as likely to be low birth weight compared to others.

"I was surprised that the regional variation across the country was still so high after accounting for other known factors," said Dr. Lindsay Thompson, who led the research at Dartmouth Medical School. "It is clear that place of residence is an important factor in neonatal outcomes," she said. "This is encouraging because these regions are linked to social and healthcare systems, and these are amenable to improvement."

Using a study population of 3,816,535 U.S. singleton births in 1998, and controlling for different characteristics that could predispose a child to being low birth weight, researchers then split the country into three groups that were above, the same, or below the national average of 6 low birth weight babies out of every 100 born. They found that of the 246 regions of the country used, 98 regions were higher than the national average and 67 were lower than the national rate by a significant degree. [see map]

While they do not know exactly why these regions vary to such a large degree, researchers hope that these data serve as a foundation for future studies and comparisons. They anticipate that regions with lower adjusted rates could serve as benchmarks for regions that need to improve through additional research and prevention efforts.

"The next research step is to look more closely at the types of available care and the services received by women in these regions," said co-author Dr. David Goodman, professor of pediatrics and of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and a pediatrician at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "The areas with better than expected rates of low birth weight may be regions with better reproductive and perinatal services."

Andy Nordhoff | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.Dartmouth.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>