DefinitionPercent of live-born infants delivered with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams (low birth weight) or less than 1,500 grams (very low birth weight)
2,500 grams is about 5 lbs, 8 oz and 1,500 grams is about 3 lbs, 5 oz.
NumeratorNumber of live-born infants with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams (LBW) or less than 1,500 grams (VLBW) born to resident mothers
DenominatorNumber of live infants born to resident mothers
Why Is This Important?Low birth weight (LBW) increases the risk for infant morbidity and mortality. LBW infants are at greater risk of dying in the first month of life. LBW infants may require intensive care at birth and are at higher risk of developmental disabilities and chronic illnesses throughout life. They are more likely to require special education services. Health care costs and length of hospital stay are higher for LBW infants.
Healthy People Objective: Low birth weight (LBW)U.S. Target: 7.8 percent
State Target: 7.7 percent
Other Objectives'''Revised Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective MCH-2a''': Reduce low birth weight (LBW) to 7.7% for the total population, 6.0% among Whites, 12.4% among Blacks, 7.1% among Hispanics, and 7.9% among Asians.
'''Revised Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective MCH-2b''': Reduce very low birth weight (VLBW) to 1.3% among the total and Hispanic populations, 0.9% among Whites, 2.9% among Blacks, and 1.0% among Asians.
'''Original Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective MCH-2a''': Reduce low birth weight (LBW) to 7.7% for the total population, 6.9% among Whites, 12.4% among Blacks, 7.1% among Hispanics, and 7.9% among Asians.
'''Original Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective MCH-2b''': Reduce very low birth weight (VLBW) to 1.4% among the total and Hispanic populations, 1.2% among Whites, 2.9% among Blacks, and 1.0% among Asians.
How Are We Doing?In New Jersey, the average birth weight is 3,261 grams or 7 lbs 3 oz.
The overall low birth weight (LBW) rate reached an all time high of 8.4% in 2011 but has since declined below 8%. The very low birth weight rate (VLBW) among New Jersey births had been around 1.5% since the 1990s before declining to 1.4% in 2015, 1.3% in 2019, and 1.2% in 2020. The Healthy New Jersey 2020 targets for LBW and VLBW among all births were achieved.
Black mothers are more likely to deliver LBW (13%) and VLBW (3%) infants than are other racial/ethnic groups. LBW rates for New Jersey's counties range from 5.8% in Sussex to 9.7% in Salem County.
Birth weight is highly correlated with plurality and gestational age. While 2.4% of full term singletons are of LBW, 23.2% of full term twins are born at a weight below 2,500 grams. Similarly, 1.0% of singletons are of VLBW compared to 7% of twins and half of triplets.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?The low birth weight rate among New Jersey mothers is below that of the nation as a whole, but the very low birth weight rate is about the same for New Jersey (1.2%) and the U.S. (1.3%).
What Is Being Done?The [http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/ Division of Family Health Services] in the New Jersey Department of Health administers programs to enhance the health, safety and well-being of families and communities in New Jersey. Several programs are aimed at improving birth outcomes.