Health Indicator Report of Low Birth Weight
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.
NotesFull term births are those with a gestational age of 37 or more weeks. In 2014, NCHS changed the standard for gestational period from the Last Menstrual Period (LMP) based gestational age to the Obstetric/clinical Estimate (OE) based gestational age. Obstetric/clinical Estimate (OE) based gestational age groups for U.S. data are available only for years 2007 and later. Refer to [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_05.pdf Measuring Gestational Age in Vital Statistics Data: Transitioning to the Obstetric Estimate] for more information. Confidence limits are not available for the U.S. data. LBW among full term singletons is an Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) indicator.
- Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Natality public-use data. CDC WONDER On-line Database accessed at [http://wonder.cdc.gov/natality.html]
- LBW by Year, New Jersey and the U.S., 1990-2020 (HNJ2020)
- VLBW by Plurality and Year, New Jersey, 2000-2020 (HNJ2020/EPHT)
- LBW by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, New Jersey, 2020
- LBW by Mother's Race/Ethnicity and Year, New Jersey, 1990-2020 (HNJ2020)
- VLBW by Mother's Race/Ethnicity and Year, New Jersey, 2000-2020 (HNJ2020)
- LBW by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2020
- LBW among Term Singletons, by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2018-2020 (EPHT)
- VLBW among Singletons by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2016-2020 (EPHT)
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
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.
Page Content Updated On 05/19/2022, Published on 05/19/2022