Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

British record on low birth weight babies is worse than in 1989 and “scar on national conscience”

27.03.2007
The British record on low birth weight babies is worse than in 1989 and a “scar on the national conscience”, says Fabian Society report
- Brown must tackle shocking inequalities at birth, says Fabian report
- British Asian mothers have high risk of having low-birth weight babies
- 24,000 children have chance of better lives if Britain’s record improved
More babies are born at dangerously low birth weights in Britain now than in 1989, says a new Fabian Society report.

The influential think-tank - which launches its Born Unequal report at Number 11 Downing Street on Wednesday (March 28) - says that the scale of inequalities at birth in Britain are ‘a scar on the national conscience’.

The Fabian report challenges Gordon Brown to address low birth weight as a national health priority, calling for mandatory one-to-one care for babies in neonatal intensive care, and increased financial support in pregnancy for women at most risk of having underweight babies.

Research for Born Unequal found that in 1989, 67 of every 1000 babies were born with low birth weight (less than 5lb8oz) but the proportion rose to 76 by 1999 and 78 by 2006.

“Inequalities at birth in Britain are a stark matter of life and death’ says author Louise Bamfield. “If Britain had the same record on low birth weight as the best countries in Europe, 24,000 babies would have much improved life chances. The facts should shock us all. Britain has the worst rate of every country in western Europe, except Greece. And being born very small creates health risks throughout life – and will affect the health of babies they will themselves have years later.”

Harriet Harman, Constitutional Affairs minister, said: “The Born Unequal report is right to argue that the extent to which chances in life are determined by the circumstances of birth is unacceptable – we must show that we have the confidence to go out and win the public argument about why inequality matters and should be reduced if we are to create a fairer Britain.”

Women who give birth over 40 are also more likely to have a smaller baby. The Fabians, who interviewed groups of new mums for the report, found that older mothers are often unaware of the risks of low birth weight.

Bamfield says this increases the importance of employers to reduce the pressures which lead increasing numbers of women to have babies later in life.

The risk of having a low birth weight baby is much higher for some groups than others. Lone parents are nine times as likely to have a stillbirth as other parents. Babies born to working-class mothers are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as those with middle-class parents.

Mothers of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin have a high risk of having low birth-weight babies; their babies are on average 300g lighter than those of white mothers. These mothers also attend fewer antenatal appointments than other ethnic groups.

Health Minister Caroline Flint will respond to the report on Wednesday March 28’s 11 Downing Street seminar with Ed Balls, the Treasury Minister who is also Chair of the Fabian Society.

Earlier Fabian research on this issue influenced Gordon Brown’s decision last year to start paying child benefit to pregnant women. The think-tank says this was an important first step but will need to be developed into a new national strategy when Brown becomes Prime Minister this summer.

Rachael Jolley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fabian-society.org.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>