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Low-birthweight babies on rise in U.S.

Posted - Oct. 6, 2004 at 7:20 a.m.



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NEW YORK, Oct 05, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The number of low-birthweight infants born in the 100-largest U.S. cities and their suburbs rose between 1990 and 2000, researchers reported.

Researchers at The New York Academy of Medicine said the trend -- which is placing more babies at greater risk for critical health problems -- is being matched by a steady decline in infant mortality.

Suburban white women comprised the fastest-growing risk group for low-birthweight babies, the researchers said, although black women continue to suffer double the rates for both LBW and infant mortality.

In the suburbs, LBW deliveries increased nearly four times more than in cities on average during the decade, researchers said. They offered several explanations.

For example, more white suburban women may be waiting until after age 35 to have children and/or using infertility treatments -- factors that are both associated with LBW. In addition, advancements in neonatal technology have improved the survival rate of pre-term babies, who are at high risk for weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth.

In the suburbs of New York City, 20.3 percent more LBW babies were born in 2000 than a decade earlier, the researchers said.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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