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LOW AND VERY LOW BIRTH WEIGHT

Low Birth Weight

Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight are the second leading cause of neonatal mortality in the U.S.1 In 2002, 103,932 babies (8.5 percent) born to residents of U.S. cities with populations over 100,000 were of low birth weight (weighing less than 2,500 grams, or 5.5 pounds). The 2002 percentage of urban infants born at low birth weight was 9 percent higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent.

Very Low Birth Weight

Infants born at very low birth weight (less than 1,500 grams, or 3 pounds and 4 ounces) are at highest risk for poor health outcomes. In 2002, 1.7 percent of live births in cities with populations over 100,000 were of very low birth weight. This rate exceeded the national very low birth weight rate by 13 percent.

Graph: Infants Born at Low Birth Weight[d]

Graph: Infants Born at Very Low Birth Weight[d]

1 The leading cause of neonatal mortality is congenital anomalies.