Disparities in Low Birth Weight

Disparities in Low Birth Weight

Low birth weight and preterm deliveries are health outcomes that have negative consequences not only for families and infants but also the community and the nation as a whole. Preterm delivery is defined as birth before 37 weeks of gestation, and it is a severe health outcome in the United States (Lakshmanan et al. 2017). Low baby birth weight refers to a weight of less than 2500g at birth, and preterm delivery often accompanies the problem. Persistent racial and cultural disparities exist with a remarkable difference between the rates of preterm deliveries in various ethnic groups.

The African-Americans are at a higher risk of experiencing preterm deliveries than the whites because of the poor economic status. Recent statistics indicate that black infants are more than twice as likely to die as the white infants due to preterm deliveries. Low birth weight has severe consequences on the life of the infants leading to the increased death rates. A comparison between African-American and non-Hispanic White births indicates a remarkable difference in the rates of low birth weight deliveries. Research shows that the rate is at 17.9% in the African-American race as compared to 11.5% rate of the non-Hispanic white infants (Lakshmanan et al. 2017).

The family and the community are always affected by low birth weight and preterm deliveries. Short-term effects include anxiety and emotional distress among the family members. The family is also likely to suffer from financial problems when caring for the baby in the hospital. Long-term effects include developmental issues such as poor learning outcomes and psychological stress. The community is also likely to reject the children as they exhibit developmental difficulties. In my neighborhood, Graham’s foundation is a service that provides support to mothers with preterm babies through advocacy and research. The service is efficient because it shares experiences with mothers and the community at large.


Lakshmanan, A., Agni, M., Lieu, T., Fleegler, E., Kipke, M., Friedlich, P. S., … & Belfort, M. B. (2017). The impact of preterm birth< 37 weeks on parents and families: a cross-sectional study in the 2 years after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit. Health and quality of life outcomes15(1), 38.