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Baby Complications Likely For Black Teens

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BALTIMORE, Aug 29, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new study indicates black teens are more likely to deliver underweight and premature babies than their white counterparts.

The study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found African-American teens twice as likely to deliver underweight babies and one-and-a-half times more likely to deliver premature babies.

The study, conducted in the Baltimore area, was published in the August edition of the Journal of Pediatrics. It compared the pregnancy outcomes of 1,120 blacks teens under 18.

Babies born to teen mothers are at a higher risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery and infant mortality, than those born to older mothers. The babies run the risk of myriad health and developmental problems as well.

"This study shows the need for effective intervention programs to reduce the risk factors contributing to low birth weight and other poor pregnancy outcomes in this population," said principal investigator Kimberly O'Brien, associate professor with the Center for Human Nutrition and the school's Department of International Health.

"In the long run, it costs more to pay for the health care costs associated with low birth weight and premature babies than to focus on prevention. There's not enough attention given to this vulnerable group."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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